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NMR Biomed. 2010 May;23(4):341-6. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1465. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Magnetic resonance histology of the adult zebrafish brain: optimization of fixation and gadolinium contrast enhancement.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld, Australia.


Magnetic resonance histology (MRH) has become a widespread tool to examine brain morphology in situ or ex vivo. Samples are routinely fixed and stained to allow for longer scan times with increased contrast and resolution. Although the zebrafish is an important model for neuroscience, to date most MRH studies have focused almost exclusively on mice. In this paper, we examined, for the first time, the zebrafish brain using MRH. We compared a range of fixatives, contrast agents, and fixation/staining durations to determine optimal imaging of the zebrafish brain. By quantifying the T(1), T(2), and T(2)* relaxation values, we demonstrated that ethanol and potassium permanganate are unviable for imaging and significant differences exist between mono and di-aldehydes. Furthermore, we compared two commercially available gadolinium-based contrast agents, Magnevist® and Optimark®, at five different concentrations. For both contrast agents, a concentration of 0.5% was determined to be ideal as it significantly shortened the T(1) but maintained a relatively long T(2) and T(2)*. Subsequently, we analyzed the duration of fixation/staining and established a period of 12 h, which best minimized T(1) values but maintained T(2) and T(2)* values. Finally, using this optimized fixation and staining protocol, we performed a gradient-echo T(2)*-weighted imaging to obtain an image set of the adult zebrafish brain at an isotropic resolution of 10 µm.

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