Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an important stroke subtype, but preclinical research is limited by a lack of translational animal models. Large animal models are useful to comparatively investigate key pathophysiological parameters in human ICH. To (i) establish an acute model of moderate ICH in adult sheep and (ii) an advanced neuroimage processing pipeline for automatic brain tissue and hemorrhagic lesion determination; 14 adult sheep were assigned for stereotactically induced ICH into cerebral white matter under physiological monitoring. Six hours after ICH neuroimaging using 1.5T MRI including structural as well as perfusion and diffusion, weighted imaging was performed before scarification and subsequent neuropathological investigation including immunohistological staining. Controlled, stereotactic application of autologous blood caused a space-occupying intracerebral hematoma of moderate severity, predominantly affecting white matter at 5 h post-injection. Neuroimage post-processing including lesion probability maps enabled automatic quantification of structural alterations including perilesional diffusion and perfusion restrictions. Neuropathological and immunohistological investigation confirmed perilesional vacuolation, axonal damage, and perivascular blood as seen after human ICH. The model and imaging platform reflects key aspects of human ICH and enables future translational research on hematoma expansion/evacuation, white matter changes, hematoma evacuation, and other aspects.
Keywords: Brain; hemorrhage; large animal; perfusion; segmentation.