A multiscale tissue assessment in a rat model of mild traumatic brain injury
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has demonstrated the potential to assess the pathophysiology of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) but correlations of DTI findings and pathological changes in mTBI are unclear. We evaluated the potential of ex vivo DTI to detect tissue damage in a mild mTBI rat model by exploiting multiscale imaging methods, histology and scanning micro-X-ray diffraction (S?XRD) 35 days after sham-operation (n = 2) or mTBI (n = 3). There were changes in DTI parameters rostral to the injury site. When examined by histology and S?XRD, there was evidence of axonal damage, reduced myelin density, gliosis, and ultrastructural alterations in myelin that were ongoing at the experimental time point of 35 days postinjury. We assessed the relationship between the 3 imaging modalities by multiple linear regression analysis. In this analysis, DTI and histological parameters were moderately related, whereas S?XRD parameters correlated weakly with DTI and histology. These findings suggest that while DTI appears to distinguish tissue changes at the microstructural level related to the loss of myelinated axons and gliosis, its ability to visualize alterations in myelin ultrastructure is limited. The use of several imaging techniques represents a novel approach to reveal tissue damage and provides new insights into mTBI detection.
|Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology|