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Cereb Cortex. 2007 Jan;17(1):28-36. Epub 2006 Feb 1.

Manganese-enhanced MRI reveals structural and functional changes in the cortex of Bassoon mutant mice.

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Special Laboratory for Non-invasive Brain Imaging, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany.


Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (ME-MRI) was used to analyze the brain architecture in mice lacking the functional presynaptic active zone protein Bassoon. Anatomical characterization revealed a significant increase in the total brain volume in Bassoon mutants as compared with wild-type mice, which is mainly caused by changes in cortex and hippocampus volume. The measured enlargement in cortical volume coincides with an altered Mn2+ distribution within cortical layers as visualized by T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Two days after manganese application, the cortex of Bassoon mutant mice appeared more laminated in ME-MRI, with an enhanced accumulation of manganese in deep, central, and superficial cortical cell layers. Whereas morphologically the cortical lamination is not affected by the absence of a functional Bassoon, an altered basal activation pattern was found in the cortex of the mutant mice both by metabolic labeling with [14C]-2-deoxyglucose and histochemical detection of the potassium analogue thallium uptake. Consequently, the results indicate that the absence of the functional presynaptic protein Bassoon causes disturbance in the formation of normal basal cortical activation patterns and thereby in the functional cortical architecture. Furthermore, this study shows that ME-MRI can become a valuable tool for a structural characterization of genetically modified mice.

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