Magnetic resonance axonography of the rat spinal cord: postmortem effects

J Neurosurg. 1995 Dec;83(6):1023-8. doi: 10.3171/jns.1995.83.6.1023.


The recent development of magnetic resonance (MR) axonography, which uses three-dimensional anisotropy contrast (3DAC), a new algorithm for the treatment of an apparent diffusion tensor, has provided an unprecedented opportunity for visualizing the anatomical details of the spinal cord in live animals. In this study, the authors investigated the sensitivity of the 3DAC method in detecting pathological conditions by obtaining chronological MR axonography of the rat spinal cord immediately after induction of cardiac arrest. The results clearly demonstrated that 3DAC is highly sensitive to any perturbation of physiological conditions. Trichromatic coefficient analyses indicated postmortem changes observed pictorially are indeed due to loss of anisotropy. The study further indicated the presence of at least two independent factors responsible for observed physiological anisotropy. Considering its rather simple implementation process and high anatomical resolution as well as its sensitivity to pathological alteration, MR axonography based on the 3DAC method appears to be the ideal noninvasive imaging technique for assessment of the spinal cord in biomedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Axons / pathology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / pathology
  • Diffusion
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mathematics
  • Postmortem Changes*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Time Factors