Utilization of MRI for cerebral white matter injury in a hypobaric swine model—validation of technique

Jennifer A. McGuire, Paul M. Sherman, Erica Dean, Jeremy M. Bernot, Laura M. Rowland, Stephen A. McGuire, Peter V. Kochunov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Repetitive hypobaric exposure in humans induces subcortical white matter change, observable on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and associated with cognitive impairment. Similar findings occur in traumatic brain injury (TBI). We are developing a swine MRI-driven model to understand the pathophysiology and to develop treatment interventions. Methods: Five miniature pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) were repetitively exposed to nonhypoxic hypobaria (30,000 feet/FIO2 100%/transcutaneous PO2 >90%) while under general anesthesia. Three pigs served as controls. Pre-exposure and postexposure MRIs were obtained that included structural sequences, dynamic contrast perfusion, and diffusion tensor quantification. Statistical comparison of individual subject and group change was performed utilizing a two-tailed t test. Findings: No structural imaging change was noted on T2-weighted or three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery imaging between MRI 1 and MRI 2. No absolute difference in dynamic contrast perfusion was observed. A trend (p = 0.084) toward increase in interstitial extra-axonal fluid was noted. When individual subjects were examined, this trend toward increased extra-axonal fluid paralleled a decrease in contrast perfusion rate. Discussion/Impact/Recommendations: This study demonstrates high reproducibility of quantitative noninvasive MRI, suggesting MRI is an appropriate assessment tool for TBI and hypobaric-induced injury research in swine. The lack of fluid-attenuated inversion recovery change may be multifactorial and requires further investigation. A trend toward increased extra-axonal water content that negatively correlates with dynamic contrast perfusion implies generalized axonal injury was induced. This study suggests this is a potential model for hypobaricinduced injury as well as potentially other axonal injuries such as TBI in which similar subcortical white matter change occurs. Further development of this model is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1757-e1764
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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