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1.  Radial and tangential neuronal migration pathways in the human fetal brain: anatomically distinct patterns of diffusion MRI coherence 
NeuroImage  2013;79:412-422.
Corticogenesis is underpinned by a complex process of subcortical neuroproliferation, followed by highly orchestrated cellular migration. A greater appreciation of the processes involved in human fetal corticogenesis is vital to gaining an understanding of how developmental disturbances originating in gestation could establish a variety of complex neuropathology manifesting in childhood, or even in adult life. Magnetic resonance imaging modalities offer a unique insight into anatomical structure, and increasingly infer information regarding underlying microstructure in the human brain. In this study we applied a combination of high-resolution structural and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to a unique cohort of three post-mortem fetal brain specimens, aged between 19 and 22 post-conceptual weeks. Specifically, we sought to assess patterns of diffusion coherence associated with subcortical neuroproliferative structures: the pallial ventricular/subventricular zone and subpallial ganglionic eminence. Two distinct three-dimensional patterns of diffusion coherence were evident: a clear radial pattern originating in ventricular/subventricular zone, and a tangentio-radial patterns originating in ganglionic eminence. These patterns appeared to regress in a caudo-rostral and lateral-ventral to medial-dorsal direction across the short period of fetal development under study. Our findings demonstrate for the first time distinct patterns of diffusion coherence associated with known anatomical proliferative structures. The radial pattern associated with dorsopallial ventricular/subventricular zone and the tangentio-radial pattern associated with subpallial ganglionic eminence are consistent with reports of radial-glial mediated neuronal migration pathways identified during human corticogenesis, supported by our prior studies of comparative fetal diffusion MRI and histology. The ability to assess such pathways in the fetal brain using MR imaging offers a unique insight into three-dimensional trajectories beyond those visualized using traditional histological techniques. Our results suggest that ex-vivo fetal MRI is a potentially useful modality in understanding normal human development and various disease processes whose etiology may originate in aberrant fetal neuronal migration.
PMCID: PMC4111232  PMID: 23672769
2.  A combined post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging and quantitative histological study of multiple sclerosis pathology 
Brain  2012;135(10):2938-2951.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory neurological condition characterized by focal and diffuse neurodegeneration and demyelination throughout the central nervous system. Factors influencing the progression of pathology are poorly understood. One hypothesis is that anatomical connectivity influences the spread of neurodegeneration. This predicts that measures of neurodegeneration will correlate most strongly between interconnected structures. However, such patterns have been difficult to quantify through post-mortem neuropathology or in vivo scanning alone. In this study, we used the complementary approaches of whole brain post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging and quantitative histology to assess patterns of multiple sclerosis pathology. Two thalamo-cortical projection systems were considered based on their distinct neuroanatomy and their documented involvement in multiple sclerosis: lateral geniculate nucleus to primary visual cortex and mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus to prefrontal cortex. Within the anatomically distinct thalamo-cortical projection systems, magnetic resonance imaging derived cortical thickness was correlated significantly with both a measure of myelination in the connected tract and a measure of connected thalamic nucleus cell density. Such correlations did not exist between these markers of neurodegeneration across different thalamo-cortical systems. Magnetic resonance imaging lesion analysis depicted clearly demarcated subcortical lesions impinging on the white matter tracts of interest; however, quantitation of the extent of lesion-tract overlap failed to demonstrate any appreciable association with the severity of markers of diffuse pathology within each thalamo-cortical projection system. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging metrics in both white matter tracts were correlated significantly with a histologically derived measure of tract myelination. These data demonstrate for the first time the relevance of functional anatomical connectivity to the spread of multiple sclerosis pathology in a ‘tract-specific’ pattern. Furthermore, the persisting relationship between metrics from post-mortem diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and histological measures from fixed tissue further validates the potential of imaging for future neuropathological studies.
PMCID: PMC3470716  PMID: 23065787
multiple sclerosis; post-mortem imaging; diffusion imaging; white matter tracts; neurodegeneration

Results 1-2 (2)