Early postnatal development of rat brain: In vivo diffusion tensor imaging

K. H. Bockhorst, P. A. Narayana, R. Liu, P. Ahobila-Vijjula, J. Ramu, M. Kamel, J. Wosik, T. Bockhorst, K. Hahn, K. M. Hasan, J. R. Perez-Polo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    134 Scopus citations


    Perinatal hypoxia is a major cause of neurodevelopmental deficits. Neuronal migration patterns are particularly sensitive to perinatal hypoxia/ischemia and are associated with the clinical deficits. The rat model of hypoxia/ischemia at P7 mimics that of perinatal injury in humans. Before assessing the effects of postnatal injury on brain development, it is essential to determine the normal developmental trajectories of various brain structures in individual animals. In vivo longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed from postnatal day 0 (P0) to P56 on Wistar rats. The DTI metrics, mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), axial (λl) and radial (λt) diffusivities, were determined for four gray matter and eight white matter structures. The FA of the cortical plate and the body of corpus callosum decreased significantly during the first 3 weeks after birth. The decrease in the cortical plate's FA value was associated mainly with an increase in λt. The initial decrease in FA of corpus callosum was associated with a significant decrease in λl. The FA of corpus callosum increased during the rest of the observational period, which was mainly associated with a decrease in λt. The FA of gray matter structures, hippocampus, caudate putamen, and cortical mantle did not show significant changes between P0 and P56. In contrast, the majority of white matter structures showed significant changes between P0 and P56. These temporal changes in the DTI metrics were related to the neuronal and axonal pruning and myelination that are known to occur in the developing brain.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1520-1528
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - May 15 2008


    • Brain development
    • Diffusion tensor imaging
    • Hypoxia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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