Multiparametric and longitudinal MRI characterization of mild traumatic brain injury in rats

Justin Alexander Long, Lora Talley Watts, Jonathan Chemello, Shiliang Huang, Qiang Shen, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This study reports T2 and diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of a mild open-skull, controlled cortical impact injury in rats (n=6) from 3 h to up to 14 d after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Comparison was made with longitudinal behavioral measurements and end-point histology. The impact was applied over the left primary forelimb somatosensory cortex (S1FL). The major findings were: 1) In the S1FL, T2 increased and fractional anisotropy (FA) decreased at 3 h after TBI and gradually returned toward normal by Day 14; 2) in the S1FL, the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) increased at 3 h, peaked on Day 2, and gradually returned toward normal at Day 14; 3) in the corpus callosum underneath the S1FL, FA decreased at 3 h to Day 2 but returned to normal at Day 7 and 14, whereas T2 and ADC were normal throughout; 4) heterogeneous hyperintense and hypointense T2 map intensities likely indicated the presence of hemorrhage but were not independently verified; 5) lesion volumes defined by abnormal T2, ADC, and FA showed similar temporal patterns, peaking around Day 2 and returning toward normal on Day 14; 6) the temporal profiles of lesion volumes were consistent with behavioral scores assessed by forelimb placement and forelimb foot fault tests; and 7) at 14 d post-TBI, there was substantial tissue recovery by MRI, which could either reflect true tissue recovery or reabsorption of edema. Histology performed 14 d post-TBI, however, showed a small cavitation and significant neuronal degeneration surrounding the cavitation in S1FL. Thus, the observed improvement of behavioral scores likely involves both functional recovery and functional compensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-607
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2015


  • TBI
  • behavioral assessments
  • controlled cortical impact
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • immunohistochemistry
  • quantitative magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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