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Visualization of subcortical structures in non-human primates in vivo by Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping at 3T MRI

By Atsushi Yoshida, Frank Q. Ye, David K Yu, David A. Leopold, Okihide Hikosaka

Posted 19 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.17.440277

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now an essential tool in the field of neuroscience involving non-human primates (NHP). Structural MRI scanning using T1-weighted (T1w) or T2-weighted (T2w) images provides anatomical information, particularly for experiments involving deep structures such as the basal ganglia and cerebellum. However, for certain subcortical structures, T1w and T2w images fail to reveal important anatomical details. To better visualize such structures in the macaque brain, we applied a relatively new method called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), which enhances tissue contrast based on the local tissue magnetic susceptibility. To evaluate the visualization of important structures, we quantified the the contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) of the ventral pallidum (VP), globus pallidus external and internal segments (GPe and GPi), substantia nigra (SN), subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the basal ganglia and the dentate nucleus (DN) in the cerebellum. For these structures, the QSM method significantly increased the CNR, and thus the visibility, beyond that in either the T1w or T2w images. In addition, QSM values of some structures were correlated to the age of the macaque subjects. These results indicate that the QSM method can enable the clear identification of certain subcortical structures that are invisible in more traditional scanning sequences.

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