Application of an automated voxel-based morphometry technique to assess regional gray and white matter brain atrophy in a canine model of aging

Neuroimage. 2006 Jan 1;29(1):234-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.07.043. Epub 2005 Nov 7.


In recent years, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) has emerged as a technique to examine regional brain changes associated with normal and pathological aging. Despite its popularity in studies of human aging, application of VBM to animal models of brain aging is rare. In the present study, VBM techniques were developed to validate earlier region of interest (ROI) measures of brain aging in the dog and to provide a more comprehensive analysis of local changes in a canine model of brain aging. Consistent with previous findings, frontal lobe atrophy increased with age, most notably in aged male dogs. Age-related gray matter reductions were also observed in parietal and temporal lobes, thalamus, cerebellum, and brainstem. Temporal lobe atrophy was particularly prominent in old females. A number of age-related changes in white matter not previously explored in the dog were also identified with VBM. Specifically, aged males exhibited greater decreases in the internal capsula and cranial nerve bundles compared to decreased volumes in the alveus of the hippocampus in old female dogs. Together, the present results indicate that application of VBM techniques in a canine model of aging yields more comprehensive information regarding topographical patterns of brain aging in male and female dogs than previously reported using traditional manual ROI methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis