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Acta Biomater. 2019 Jun 25. pii: S1742-7061(19)30447-7. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.06.034. [Epub ahead of print]

The influence of body temperature on tissue stiffness, blood perfusion, and water diffusion in the mouse brain.

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Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Department of Experimental Neurology and Center for Stroke Research Berlin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence and Charité Core Facility 7T Experimental MRI, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Department of Neurology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Institute of Medical Informatics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:


While hypothermia of the brain is used to reduce neuronal damage in patients with conditions such as traumatic brain injury or stroke, little is known about how temperature affects the biophysical properties of in vivo brain tissue. Therefore, we measured shear wave speed (SWS), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the mouse brain at different body temperatures to investigate the relationship between temperature and tissue stiffness, water diffusion, and blood perfusion in the living brain. Multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and arterial spin labeling (ASL) were performed in seven mice while increasing and recording body temperature from hypothermia (28-30 °C) to normothermia (36-38 °C). SWS, ADC, and CBF were analyzed in regions of whole brain, cortex, hippocampus, and diencephalon. Our results show that SWS decreases while ADC and CBF increase from hypothermia to normothermia (whole brain SWS: -6.2%, ADC: +34.0%, CBF: +80.2%; cortex SWS: -10.1%, ADC: +30.9%, CBF: +82.4%; all p > 0.05). We found a significant inverse correlation between SWS and both ADC and CBF in all analyzed regions except diencephalon (whole brain SWS-ADC: r = -0.8, p < 0.005; SWS-CBF: r = -0.84, p < 0.005; cortex SWS-ADC: r = -0.74, p < 0.05; SWS-CBF: r = -0.65, p < 0.05). These results show that in vivo brain stiffness is inversely correlated with temperature, extracellular water mobility, and microvascular blood flow. Regional differences indicate that cortical areas are more markedly affected by hypothermia than central regions such as diencephalon. Temperature should be considered as a confounder in elastographic measurements, especially in preclinical settings. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Hibernating mammals lower their body temperature and metabolic activity. A hypothermic state can also be induced for medical purposes to reduce the risk of neural damage in patients with neurological disease or injury. However, little is known how physical soft-tissue properties of the in-vivo brain such as water diffusion, blood perfusion or mechanical parameters correlate with each other when temperature changes. Our study demonstrates for the first time that those quantitative imaging markers are tightly linked to changes in body temperature. While water diffusion and blood perfusion are reduced during hypothermia, brain stiffness significantly increases, suggesting that multiparametric quantitative MRI should be used for the noninvasive assessment of brain metabolic activity.


Brain stiffness; Diffusion; Hypothermia; Mouse; Multifrequency MRE; Perfusion; Temperature; Tomoelastography

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