Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Mouse Brain

Manisha Aggarwal, Jiangyang Zhang, Susumu Mori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Imaging techniques allow neuroscientists to visualize the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Based on the modalities used to detect signals, imaging techniques can be classified into different subcategories. Optical microscopy and electron microscopy are probably the two most widely used imaging modalities for studying the mouse brain. Since these detection methods are limited in terms of their depth of penetration into the tissue, histological sectioning of the tissue samples is necessary. Researchers can then apply specific stains to create contrasts in the plain tissue sections for visualizing structures of interest. Although histology and optical imaging provide good contrasts and resolution, and are used a great deal, it is sometimes preferable to acquire images without sectioning the tissue, or even in vivo, for certain studies. Imaging without sectioning can provide accurate information about tissue morphology, and in vivo imaging capability can benefit studies that involve stereotaxic operations in live animals, for instance, precise delivery of cells or drugs to specific regions in the brain. Two types of radiological imaging modalities: computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are appropriate for these studies. These detection modalities can penetrate deep into tissues and there is no need for histological sectioning. With the increasing availability of high-field MR scanners in recent years, and improved radiofrequency coils now capable of small animal imaging, MRI is increasingly playing an important role in neuroscience studies. New, promising MR and related technologies are being actively developed, which could greatly facilitate neuroscience research. It is, therefore, important to understand and maximize the utility of MR-based tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Mouse Nervous System
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780123694973
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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