Carnegie Mellon U. imaging study reveals sex-based differences that persist as mice enter adulthood

de with the capability to perform MRM. Koshibu, who did much of the data analysis, recently completed her doctoral work in the department of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh while working at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint University of Pittburgh-Carnegie Mellon initiative.

To date, only a limited number of quantitative 3D analyses of adult mouse brain structures have been conducted, due in part to the laborious process required to obtain such data. Using conventional histology, it would take months to section brains, measure various structures and perform a 3D reconstruction, whereas Koshibu obtained statistically relevant results in a matter of weeks with the MRM technique. Moreover, extreme manipulations of the brain needed to carry out histological investigations inevitably distort the tissue, which in turn corrupts the true brain structure, according to Ahrens.

"With MRM, we are able to use intact brains, revealing a much better image of structures in the whole brain compared to widely accepted histological techniques," Ahrens said.

MRM is based on the same principles as MRI, an imaging technology that visualizes the body's internal structures. Both MRI and MRM make use of nuclear magnetic resonance, a phenomena observed in the nuclei of atoms when they are exposed to a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves. MRM uses stronger magnets to capture images at a resolution 10-100 times finer than conventional MRI.

Using MRM, Ahrens and his colleagues imaged the brains of male and female mice, aged 1 month (adolescent) and 3 months (adult). Koshibu used a software program to digitally isolate the whole brain and specific structures from the MRM data. These include the amygdala, hippocampus, striatum, and lateral and third ventricles, structures that have been widely studied in humans because of their implications in cognition and neuropsychiatric disorders. A comparison of the 3D reconstructions

Contact: Lauren Ward
Carnegie Mellon University

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