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Magn Reson Med. 2013 Dec;70(6):1707-17. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24597. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

MRI analysis of cerebellar and vestibular developmental phenotypes in Gbx2 conditional knockout mice.

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Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA; Biomedical Imaging Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.



Our aim in this study was to apply three-dimensional MRI methods to analyze early postnatal morphological phenotypes in a Gbx2 conditional knockout (Gbx2-CKO) mouse that has variable midline deletions in the central cerebellum, reminiscent of many human cerebellar hypoplasia syndromes.


In vivo three-dimensional manganese-enhanced MRI at 100-µm isotropic resolution was used to visualize mouse brains between postnatal days 3 and 11, when cerebellum morphology undergoes dramatic changes. Deformation-based morphometry and volumetric analysis of manganese-enhanced MRI images were used to, respectively, detect and quantify morphological phenotypes in Gbx2-CKO mice. Ex vivo micro-MRI was performed after perfusion-fixation with supplemented gadolinium for higher resolution (50-µm) analysis.


In vivo manganese-enhanced MRI and deformation-based morphometry correctly identified known cerebellar defects in Gbx2-CKO mice, and novel phenotypes were discovered in the deep cerebellar nuclei and the vestibulo-cerebellum, both validated using histology. Ex vivo micro-MRI revealed subtle phenotypes in both the vestibulo-cerebellum and the vestibulo-cochlear organ, providing an interesting example of complementary phenotypes in a sensory organ and its associated brain region.


These results show the potential of three-dimensional MRI for detecting and analyzing developmental defects in mouse models of neurodevelopmental diseases.


brain development; cerebellum; gastrulation brain homeobox 2 gene (Gbx2); manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI); mid-hindbrain; vestibulo-cochlear organ

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