Scalable method for micro-CT analysis enables large scale quantitative characterization of brain lesions and implants

Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 30;10(1):20851. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77796-3.


Anatomic evaluation is an important aspect of many studies in neuroscience; however, it often lacks information about the three-dimensional structure of the brain. Micro-CT imaging provides an excellent, nondestructive, method for the evaluation of brain structure, but current applications to neurophysiological or lesion studies require removal of the skull as well as hazardous chemicals, dehydration, or embedding, limiting their scalability and utility. Here we present a protocol using eosin in combination with bone decalcification to enhance contrast in the tissue and then employ monochromatic and propagation phase-contrast micro-CT imaging to enable the imaging of brain structure with the preservation of the surrounding skull. Instead of relying on descriptive, time-consuming, or subjective methods, we develop simple quantitative analyses to map the locations of recording electrodes and to characterize the presence and extent of hippocampal brain lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS) / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Male
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Skull
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*


  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS)