Super-resolution track-density imaging studies of mouse brain: comparison to histology

Neuroimage. 2012 Jan 2;59(1):286-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.014. Epub 2011 Jul 14.


The recently proposed track-density imaging (TDI) technique was introduced as a means to achieve super-resolution using diffusion MRI. This technique is able to increase the spatial resolution of the reconstructed images beyond the acquired MRI resolution by incorporating information from whole-brain fibre-tracking results. It not only achieves super-resolution, but also provides very high anatomical contrast with a new MRI contrast mechanism. However, the anatomical information-content of this novel contrast mechanism has not yet been assessed. In this work, we perform such a study using diffusion MRI of ex vivo mouse brains acquired at 16.4 T, to compare the results of the super-resolution TDI technique with histological staining (myelin and Nissl stains) in the same brains. Furthermore, a modified version of the directionally-encoded colour TDI map using short-tracks is introduced, which reduces the TDI intensity dynamic range, and therefore enhances the directionality colour-contrast. Good agreement was observed between structures visualised in the super-resolution TDI maps and in the histological sections, supporting the anatomical information-content of the images generated using the TDI technique. The results therefore show that the TDI methodology does provide meaningful and rich anatomical contrast, in addition to achieving super-resolution. Furthermore, this study is the first to show the application of TDI to mouse brain imaging: the high-resolution, high-quality images demonstrate the useful complementary information that can be achieved using super-resolution TDI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology*