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Neuroimage. 1994 Jun;1(3):220-9.

Near-microscopic magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of phenylalanine hydroxylase-deficient mice, normal littermates, and of normal BALB/c mice at 9.4 Tesla.

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Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53705, USA.


The near-microscopic resolution of the mouse brain, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 9.4 T, permits in situ examination of the entire brain and longitudinal studies of neural development. MRI can be utilized to reveal brain structure at a resolution of 100 microns in the X, Y, and Z planes of brain, to differentiate the gray from white (myelin-rich) matter, and to reveal the ventricular compartments. The present report describes the structure of normal BALB/c mouse brain as revealed by imaging at 9.4 T and by histological stains; the structure of normal brain is compared with that from a phenylalanine hydroxylase-deficient mouse mutant line (Pah(enu2)) and those from normal littermates. The brains of patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) were reported to have demyelination and other structural abnormalities revealed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Therefore, high-resolution MRI was used to examine the brain of this mutant, an animal model for the study of human phenylketonuria. Our study revealed no evidence of demyelination or other abnormalities in the brains of Pah(enu2) mice. Histologically, the mutant and normal mouse brains appear similar. This is consistent with a recent study from our laboratory which demonstrated that the histology of the brain of an untreated male patient, who died with PKU at the age of 29, was similar to control brain with the exception of changes directly related to visual blindness and seizures experienced by the patient.

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