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Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Nov;31(9):1522-31. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2013.06.001. Epub 2013 Jul 6.

Voxel-based morphometry with templates and validation in a mouse model of Huntington's disease.

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Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, University of Cambridge, Box 65 Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK; Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Department of Experimental Psychology, Cambridge, CB2 3EB, UK.


Despite widespread application to human imaging, voxel-based morphometry (VBM), where images are compared following grey matter (GM) segmentation, is seldom used in mice. Here VBM is performed for the R6/2 model of Huntington's disease, a progressive neurological disorder. This article discusses issues in translating the methods to mice and shows that its statistical basis is sound in mice as it is in human studies. Whole brain images from live transgenic and control mice are segmented into GM maps after processing and compared to produce statistical parametric maps of likely differences. To assess whether false positives were likely to occur, a large cohort of ex vivo magnetic resonance brain images were sampled with permutation testing. Differences were seen particularly in the striatum and cortex, in line with studies performed ex vivo and as seen in human patients. In validation, the rate of false positives is as expected and these have no discernible distribution through the brain. The study shows that VBM successfully detects differences in the Huntington's disease mouse brain. The method is rapid compared to manual delineation and reliable. The templates created here for the mouse brain are freely released for other users in addition to an open-source software toolbox for performing mouse VBM.


Automated analysis; Huntington’s disease; Image processing; R6/2 mouse; Translational methods

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