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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 22;10(6):e0130314. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130314. eCollection 2015.

Quantitative Measurements in the Human Hippocampus and Related Areas: Correspondence between Ex-Vivo MRI and Histological Preparations.

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Human Neuroanatomy Laboratory and C.R.I.B., School of Medicine, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.
Radiology Service, Magnetic Resonance Unit, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete (CHUA), Albacete, Spain.
Radiodiagnostic Service, Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos (HNP), Toledo, Spain.
Department of Health, Physical Therapy School, Public University of Navarra, Tudela, Spain.
School of Advanced Education, Research and Accreditation, Castellón de la Plana, Spain.
Pathology Service, Hospital Complex of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain.
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computation, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.


The decrease of volume estimates in different structures of the medial temporal lobe related to memory correlate with the decline of cognitive functions in neurodegenerative diseases. This study presents data on the association between MRI quantitative parameters of medial temporal lobe structures and their quantitative estimate in microscopic examination. Twelve control cases had ex-vivo MRI, and thereafter, the temporal lobe of both hemispheres was sectioned from the pole as far as the level of the splenium of the corpus callosum. Nissl stain was used to establish anatomical boundaries between structures in the medial temporal lobe. The study included morphometrical and stereological estimates of the amygdaloid complex, hippocampus, and temporal horn of the lateral ventricle, as well as different regions of grey and white matter in the temporal lobe. Data showed a close association between morphometric MRI images values and those based on the histological determination of boundaries. Only values in perimeter and circularity of the piamater were different. This correspondence is also revealed by the stereological study, although irregular compartments resulted in a lesser agreement. Neither age (< 65 yr and > 65 yr) nor hemisphere had any effect. Our results indicate that ex-vivo MRI is highly associated with quantitative information gathered by histological examination, and these data could be used as structural MRI biomarker in neurodegenerative diseases.

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