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Combined measurement of diverse molecular and anatomical traits that span multiple levels remains a major challenge in biology. Here, we introduce a simple method that enables proteomic imaging for scalable, integrated, high-dimensional phenotyping of both animal tissues and human clinical samples. This method, termed SWITCH, uniformly secures tissue architecture, native biomolecules, and antigenicity across an entire system by synchronizing the tissue preservation reaction. The heat- and chemical-resistant nature of the resulting framework permits multiple rounds (>20) of relabeling. We have performed 22 rounds of labeling of a single tissue with precise co-registration of multiple datasets. Furthermore, SWITCH synchronizes labeling reactions to improve probe penetration depth and uniformity of staining. With SWITCH, we performed combinatorial protein expression profiling of the human cortex and also interrogated the geometric structure of the fiber pathways in mouse brains. Such integrated high-dimensional information may accelerate our understanding of biological systems at multiple levels.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis induce the changes that underpin relapse-associated and progressive disability. Disease mechanisms can be investigated in preclinical models and patients with multiple sclerosis by molecular and metabolic imaging techniques. Many insights have been gained from such imaging studies: persisting inflammation in the absence of a damaged blood-brain barrier, activated microglia within and beyond lesions, increased mitochondrial activity after acute lesions, raised sodium concentrations in the brain, increased glutamate in acute lesions and normal-appearing white matter, different degrees of demyelination in different patients and lesions, early neuronal damage in grey matter, and early astrocytic proliferation and activation in lesions and white matter. Clinical translation of molecular and metabolic imaging and extension of these techniques will enable the assessment of novel drugs targeted at these disease mechanisms, and have the potential to improve health outcomes through the stratification of patients for treatments.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
New magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences are enabling clinical study of the in vivo spinal cord's internal structure. Yet, low contrast-to-noise ratio, artifacts, and imaging distortions have limited the applicability of tissue segmentation techniques pioneered elsewhere in the central nervous system. Recently, methods have been presented for cord/non-cord segmentation on MRI and the feasibility of gray matter/white matter tissue segmentation has been evaluated. To date, no automated algorithms have been presented. Herein, we present a non-local multi-atlas framework that robustly identifies the spinal cord and segments its internal structure with submillimetric accuracy. The proposed algorithm couples non-local fusion with a large number of slice-based atlases (as opposed to typical volumetric ones). To improve performance, the fusion process is interwoven with registration so that segmentation information guides registration and vice versa. We demonstrate statistically significant improvement over state-of-the-art benchmarks in a study of 67 patients. The primary contributions of this work are (1) innovation in non-volumetric atlas information, (2) advancement of label fusion theory to include iterative registration/segmentation, and (3) the first fully automated segmentation algorithm for spinal cord internal structure on MRI.
Skin biopsies have primarily been used to study the non-myelinated nerve fibers of the epidermis in a variety of neuropathies. In this study, we have expanded the skin biopsy technique to glabrous, non-hairy skin to evaluate myelinated nerve fibers in the most highly prevalent peripheral nerve disease, diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN). Twenty patients with DPN (Type I, n = 9; Type II, n = 11) and 16 age-matched healthy controls (age 29-73) underwent skin biopsy of the index finger, nerve conduction studies (NCS), and composite neuropathy scoring. In patients with DPN, we found a statistically significant reduction of both mechanoreceptive Meissner corpuscles (MCs) and their afferent myelinated nerve fibers (p = 0.01). This myelinated nerve fiber loss was correlated with the decreased amplitudes of sensory/motor responses in NCS. This study supports the utilization of skin biopsy to quantitatively evaluate axonal loss of myelinated nerve fibers in patients with DPN.
© 2013 Peripheral Nerve Society.
PURPOSE - To evaluate how flow territory asymmetry and/or the distribution of blood through collateral pathways may adversely affect the brain's ability to respond to age-related changes in brain function. These patterns have been investigated in cerebrovascular disease; however, here we evaluated how flow-territory asymmetry related to memory generally in older adults.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - A multi-faceted MRI protocol, including vessel-encoded arterial spin labeling capable of flow territory mapping, was applied to assess how flow territory asymmetry; memory performance (CERAD-Immediate Recall); cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF), white matter lesion (WML) count, and cortical gray matter volume were related in older healthy control volunteers (HC; n = 15; age = 64.5 ± 7 years) and age-matched mild cognitive impairment volunteers (MCI; n = 7; age = 62.7 ± 3.7 years).
RESULTS - An inverse relationship was found between memory performance and flow territory asymmetry in HC volunteers (P = 0.04), which reversed in MCI volunteers (P = 0.04). No relationship was found between memory performance and cortical tissue volume in either group (P > 0.05). Group-level differences for HC volunteers performing above versus below average on CERAD-I were observed for flow territory asymmetry (P < 0.02) and cortical volume (P < 0.05) only.
CONCLUSION - Findings suggest that flow territory asymmetry may correlate more sensitively with memory performance than CBF, atrophy and WML count in older adults.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Localized high-resolution diffusion tensor images (DTI) from the midbrain were obtained using reduced field-of-view (rFOV) methods combined with SENSE parallel imaging and single-shot echo planar (EPI) acquisitions at 7T. This combination aimed to diminish sensitivities of DTI to motion, susceptibility variations, and EPI artifacts at ultra-high field. Outer-volume suppression (OVS) was applied in DTI acquisitions at 2- and 1-mm(2) resolutions, b=1000s/mm(2), and six diffusion directions, resulting in scans of 7- and 14-min durations. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured in various fiber tract locations at the two resolutions and compared. Geometric distortion and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were additionally measured and compared for reduced-FOV and full-FOV DTI scans. Up to an eight-fold data reduction was achieved using DTI-OVS with SENSE at 1mm(2), and geometric distortion was halved. The localization of fiber tracts was improved, enabling targeted FA and ADC measurements. Significant differences in diffusion properties were observed between resolutions for a number of regions suggesting that FA values are impacted by partial volume effects even at a 2-mm(2) resolution. The combined SENSE DTI-OVS approach allows large reductions in DTI data acquisition and provides improved quality for high-resolution diffusion studies of the human brain.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The 'Vascular Depression' hypothesis posits that cerebrovascular disease may predispose, precipitate or perpetuate some geriatric depressive syndromes. This hypothesis stimulated much research that has improved our understanding of the complex relationships between late-life depression (LLD), vascular risk factors, and cognition. Succinctly, there are well-established relationships between LLD, vascular risk factors and cerebral hyperintensities, the radiological hallmark of vascular depression. Cognitive dysfunction is common in LLD, particularly executive dysfunction, a finding predictive of poor antidepressant response. Over time, progression of hyperintensities and cognitive deficits predicts a poor course of depression and may reflect underlying worsening of vascular disease. This work laid the foundation for examining the mechanisms by which vascular disease influences brain circuits and influences the development and course of depression. We review data testing the vascular depression hypothesis with a focus on identifying potential underlying vascular mechanisms. We propose a disconnection hypothesis, wherein focal vascular damage and white matter lesion location is a crucial factor, influencing neural connectivity that contributes to clinical symptomatology. We also propose inflammatory and hypoperfusion hypotheses, concepts that link underlying vascular processes with adverse effects on brain function that influence the development of depression. Testing such hypotheses will not only inform the relationship between vascular disease and depression, but also provide guidance on the potential repurposing of pharmacological agents that may improve LLD outcomes.
PURPOSE - To investigate inter-compartmental water exchange in two model myelinated tissues ex vivo using relaxation exchange spectroscopy.
METHODS - Building upon a previously developed theoretical framework, a three-compartment (myelin, intra-axonal, and extra-axonal water) model of the inversion-recovery prepared relaxation exchange spectroscopy signal was applied in excised rat optic nerve and frog sciatic nerve samples to estimate the water residence time constants in myelin (τmyelin ).
RESULTS - In the rat optic nerve samples, τmyelin = 138 ± 15 ms (mean ± standard deviation) was estimated. In sciatic nerve, which possesses thicker myelin sheaths than optic nerve, a much longer τmyelin = 2046 ± 140 ms was observed.
CONCLUSION - Consistent with previous studies in rat spinal cord, the extrapolation of exchange rates in optic nerve to in vivo conditions indicates that τmyelin < 100 ms. This suggests that there is a significant effect of inter-compartmental water exchange on the transverse relaxation of water protons in white matter. The much longer τmyelin values in sciatic nerve supports the postulate that the inter-compartmental water exchange rate is mediated by myelin thickness. Together, these findings point to the potential for MRI methods to probe variations in myelin thickness in white matter.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Childhood trauma is associated with smaller gray matter volume, similar to the pattern seen in psychotic disorders. We explored the relationship between childhood abuse, psychosis, and brain volume in a group of 60 individuals with a psychotic disorder and 26 healthy control subjects. We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to quantify gray and white matter volume and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) to measure childhood abuse. Within the psychotic disorder group, total gray matter volume was inversely correlated with the severity of childhood sexual abuse (r=-.34, p=.008), but not the other types of abuse. When the 24 patients with sexual abuse were compared with demographically matched samples of 23 patients without sexual abuse and 26 control subjects, only patients with a history of sexual abuse had reduced total gray matter volume (t(48)=2.3, p=.03; Cohen's d=.63). Voxel-based analysis revealed a cluster in the prefrontal cortex where volume was negatively correlated with sexual abuse severity. Voxel based comparison of the three matched groups revealed a similar pattern of results, with widespread reductions in psychosis patients with sexual abuse relative to controls that were not found in psychosis patients without sexual abuse. These findings indicate that some of the variance of gray matter volume in psychotic disorders can be explained by a history of sexual abuse.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Increasing evidence suggests that autism is a disorder of distributed neural networks that may exhibit abnormal developmental trajectories. Characterisation of white matter early in the developmental course of the disorder is critical to understanding these aberrant trajectories.
METHODS - A cross-sectional study of 2- to 6-year-old children with autism was conducted using diffusion tensor imaging combined with a novel statistical approach employing fractional anisotropy distributions. Fifty-eight children aged 18-79 months were imaged: 33 were diagnosed with autism, 8 with general developmental delay, and 17 were typically developing. Fractional anisotropy values within global white matter, cortical lobes and the cerebellum were measured and transformed to random F distributions for each subject. Each distribution of values for a region was summarised by estimating δ, the estimated mean and standard deviation of the approximating F for each distribution.
RESULTS - The estimated δ parameter, , was significantly decreased in individuals with autism compared to the combined control group. This was true in all cortical lobes, as well as in the cerebellum, but differences were most robust in the temporal lobe. Predicted developmental trajectories of across the age range in the sample showed patterns that partially distinguished the groups. Exploratory analyses suggested that the variability, rather than the central tendency, component of was the driving force behind these results.
CONCLUSIONS - While preliminary, our results suggest white matter in young children with autism may be abnormally homogeneous, which may reflect poorly organised or differentiated pathways, particularly in the temporal lobe, which is important for social and emotional cognition.
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research © 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, MENCAP & IASSID.