The paranodal junction is a specialized axon-glia contact zone that is important for normal neuronal activity and behavioral locomotor function in the central nervous system (CNS). Histological examination has been the only method for detecting pathological paranodal junction conditions. Recently, diffusion tensor MRI (DTI) has been used to detect microstructural changes in various CNS diseases. This study was conducted to determine whether MRI and DTI could detect structural changes in the paranodal junctions of the spinal cord in cerebroside sulfotransferase knock-out (CST-KO) mice. Here, we showed that high-resolution MRI and DTI characteristics can reflect paranodal junction failure in CST-KO mice. We found significantly lower T1 times and significantly higher T2 times in the spinal cord MRIs of CST-KO mice as compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Spinal cord DTI showed significantly lower axial diffusivity and significantly higher radial diffusivity in CST-KO mice as compared to WT mice. In contrast, the histological differences in the paranodal junctions of WT and CST-KO mice were so subtle that electron microscopy or immunohistological analyses were necessary to detect them. We also measured gait disturbance in the CST-KO mice, and determined the conduction latency by electrophysiology. These findings demonstrate the potential of using MRI and DTI to evaluate white matter disorders that involve paranodal junction failure.
Pubmed ID: 23300814 RIS Download
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TrackVis is software tool that can visualize and analyze fiber track data from diffusion MR imaging (DTI/DSI/HARDI/Q-Ball) tractography. It does NOT perform actual fiber tracking. Diffusion Toolkit is a set of tools that reconstruct diffusion imaging data and generate fiber track data for TrackVis to visualize. Because these two sets of tools were developed and maintained separately and each has distinguished funtionalities, they decided to distribute them as two separate programs for the ease of maintenance and upgrade. You do need both of them to perform complete diffusion data processing and analysis. Features of TrackVis include: * Cross-platform. Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with native look and feel. * A variety of track filters (track selecting methods) allowing users to explore and locate specific bundles with ease. * Multiple rendering modes with customizable scalar-driven color codes. * Real-time parameter adjustment and 3D render. * Open format of the track data file allowing users to integrate customized scalar data into the track file and visualize and analyze it. Save and restore scenes in XML style scene file. * Statistical scalar analysis of tracks and ROIs. * Synchronized real-time multiple dataset analysis and display allowing time-point and/or subject comparison. Synchronized analysis and display on same dataset can also be performed in real-time remotely over the network. * Upfront in-line parameter adjustment in real-time. No tedious pop-up dialogs. TrackVis works with Track File created by Diffusion Toolkit. Diffusion Toolkit processes raw DICOM, Nifti format and ANALYZE images. TrackVis and Diffusion Toolkit are cross-platform software. They can run on Windows XP, Mac OS X as well as Linux.
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