In vivo microscopic voxel-based morphometry with a brain template to characterize strain-specific structures in the mouse brain

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 7;7(1):85. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00148-1.


Hundreds of inbred mouse strains are established for use in a broad spectrum of basic research fields, including genetics, neuroscience, immunology, and cancer. Inbred mice exhibit identical intra-strain genetics and divergent inter-strain phenotypes. The cognitive and behavioral divergences must be controlled by the variances of structure and function of their brains; however, the underlying morphological features of strain-to-strain difference remain obscure. Here, in vivo microscopic magnetic resonance imaging was optimized to image the mouse brains by using an isotropic resolution of 80 μm. Next, in vivo templates were created from the data from four major inbred mouse strains (C57Bl/6, BALB/cBy, C3H/He, and DBA/2). A strain-mixed brain template was also created, and the template was then employed to establish automatic voxel-based morphometry (VBM) for the mouse brain. The VBM assessment revealed strain-specific brain morphologies concerning the gray matter volume of the four strains, with a smaller volume in the primary visual cortex for the C3H/He strain, and a smaller volume in the primary auditory cortex and field CA1 of the hippocampus for the DBA/2 strain. These findings would contribute to the basis of for understanding morphological phenotype of the inbred mouse strain and may indicate a relationship between brain morphology and strain-specific cognition and behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Gray Matter / anatomy & histology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intravital Microscopy / methods*
  • Intravital Microscopy / veterinary
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / veterinary
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / anatomy & histology*
  • Mice, Inbred C3H / anatomy & histology*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / anatomy & histology*
  • Mice, Inbred DBA / anatomy & histology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology