Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging of Rat Brain Microstructural Changes due to Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion at a 3T MRI


The purpose of this work was to demonstrate the feasibility of neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) in characterizing the brain tissue microstructural changes of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats at 3T MRI, and to validate NODDI metrics with histology. A multi-shell diffusion MRI protocol was performed on 11 MCAO rats and 10 control rats at different post-operation time points of 0.5, 2, 6, 12, 24 and 72 h. NODDI orientation dispersion index (ODI) and intracellular volume fraction (Vic) metrics were compared between MCAO group and control group. The evolution of NODDI metrics was characterized and validated by histology. Infarction was consistent with significantly increased ODI and Vic in comparison to control tissues at all time points (P<0.001). Lesion ODI increased gradually from 0.5 to 72 h, while its Vic showed a more complicated and fluctuated evolution. ODI and Vic were significantly different between hyperacute and acute stroke periods (P<0.001). The NODDI metrics were found to be consistent with the histological findings. In conclusion, NODDI can reflect microstructural changes of brain tissues in MCAO rats at 3T MRI and the metrics are consistent with histology. This study helps to prepare NODDI for the diagnosis and management of ischemic stroke in translational research and clinical practice.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shun Zhang.

Additional information

This project was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81570462, No. 81730049, and No. 81801666).

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest with any financial organization or corporation or individual that can inappropriately influence this work.

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Wang, Zx., Zhu, Wz., Zhang, S. et al. Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging of Rat Brain Microstructural Changes due to Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion at a 3T MRI. CURR MED SCI 41, 167–172 (2021).

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Key words

  • diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
  • neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging
  • middle cerebral artery occlusion model
  • stroke
  • rats