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NMR Biomed. 2013 Nov;26(11):1562-81. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2992. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Quantitative MRI and ultrastructural examination of the cuprizone mouse model of demyelination.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Department of Radiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.


The cuprizone mouse model of demyelination was used to investigate the influence that white matter changes have on different magnetic resonance imaging results. In vivo T2 -weighted and magnetization transfer images (MTIs) were acquired weekly in control (n = 5) and cuprizone-fed (n = 5) mice, with significant increases in signal intensity in T2 -weighted images (p < 0.001) and lower magnetization transfer ratio (p < 0.001) in the corpus callosum of the cuprizone-fed mice starting at 3 weeks and peaking at 4 and 5 weeks, respectively. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), quantitative MTI (qMTI), and T1/T2 measurements were used to analyze freshly excised tissue after 6 weeks of cuprizone administration. In multicomponent T2 analysis with 10 ms echo spacing, there was no visible myelin water component associated with the short T2 value. Quantitative MTI metrics showed significant differences in the corpus callosum and external capsule of the cuprizone-fed mice, similar to previous studies of multiple sclerosis in humans and animal models of demyelination. Fractional anisotropy was significantly lower and mean, axial, and radial diffusivity were significantly higher in the cuprizone-fed mice. Cellular distributions measured in electron micrographs of the corpus callosum correlated strongly to several different quantitative MRI metrics. The largest Spearman correlation coefficient varied depending on cellular type: T1 versus the myelinated axon fraction (ρ = -0.90), the bound pool fraction (ƒ) versus the myelin sheath fraction (ρ = 0.93), and axial diffusivity versus the non-myelinated cell fraction (ρ = 0.92). Using Pearson's correlation coefficient, ƒ was strongly correlated to the myelin sheath fraction (r = 0.98) with a linear equation predicting myelin content (5.37ƒ - 0.25). Of the calculated MRI metrics, ƒ was the strongest indicator of myelin content, while longitudinal relaxation rates and diffusivity measurements were the strongest indicators of changes in tissue structure.


T1/T2 relaxation time measurements; bound water fraction; corpus callosum; cuprizone; demyelination; diffusion tensor imaging; electron microscopy; magnetization transfer imaging

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