Microscopic magnetic resonance elastography of traumatic brain injury model

Thomas Boulet, Matthew L. Kelso, Shadi F. Othman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability for which there is no cure. One of the issues inhibiting clinical trial success is the lack of targeting specific patient populations due to inconsistencies between clinical diagnostic tools and underlying pathophysiology. The development of reliable, noninvasive markers of TBI severity and injury mechanisms may better identify these populations, thereby improving clinical trial design. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), by assessing tissue mechanical properties, can potentially provide such marker. MRE synchronizes mechanical excitations with a phase contrast imaging pulse sequence to noninvasively register shear wave propagation, from which local values of tissue viscoelastic properties can be deduced. The working hypothesis of this study is that TBI involves a compression of brain tissue large enough to bring the material out of its elastic range, sufficiently altering mechanical properties to generate contrast on MRE measurements. To test this hypothesis, we combined microscopic MRE with brain tissue collected from adult male rats subjected to a controlled cortical impact injury. Measurements were made in different regions of interest (somatosensory cortex, hippocampus, and thalamus), and at different time points following the injury (immediate, 24. h, 7. days, 28. days). Values of stiffness in the somatosensory cortex were found to be 23-32% lower in the injured hemisphere than in the healthy one, when no significant difference was observed in the case of sham brains. A preliminary in vivo experiment is also presented, as well as alternatives to improve the faithfulness of stiffness recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011


  • In vivo mouse
  • Inverse problem
  • Microscopic magnetic resonance elastography
  • Rat brain
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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