Experimental Models of Brain Disease: MRI Contrast Mechanisms for the Assessment of Pathophysiological Status

  • David L. ThomasEmail author
  • Karin Shmueli
  • Marilena Rega
  • Francisco Torrealdea
  • Louise van der Weerd
  • Mark F. Lythgoe
  • John S. Thornton
Reference work entry


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enables non-invasive in vivo imaging with excellent contrast between different types of soft tissue. One of the strengths of MRI is the variety of contrasts that it is able to provide. Traditionally, MRI images have been acquired with contrast based on tissue type and macrostructure, allowing detailed depiction of anatomy. More recently, complementary methods have been developed which derive their contrasts from tissue microstructure (at the level of the cells) and physiology (oxygen utilisation and blood perfusion). In this chapter, the most widely-used MR methods for imaging the brain will be described, and the mechanisms responsible for the sensitivity of these methods to pathophysiology in brain disease will be explained.


Imaging Relaxation Diffusion Perfusion Susceptibility Magnetization transfer 



The authors would like to thank Romina Aron-Badin, Mankin Choy, Neil Harris, and Rick Dijkhuizen for their contribution of images for the manuscript. We also acknowledge the Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, MRC, and BBSRC for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Thomas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Karin Shmueli
    • 6
  • Marilena Rega
    • 3
  • Francisco Torrealdea
    • 4
    • 5
  • Louise van der Weerd
    • 7
  • Mark F. Lythgoe
    • 8
  • John S. Thornton
    • 9
  1. 1.Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre, UCL Institute of NeurologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Neuroradiological Academic Unit, UCL Institute of NeurologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of Nuclear MedicineUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Centre for Medical ImagingUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of NeurologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  6. 6.Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  7. 7.Department of RadiologyLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  8. 8.UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical ImagingDivision of Medicine, University College LondonLondonUK
  9. 9.Lysholm Department of Neuroradiology, National Hospital for Neurology and NeurosurgeryUCLH NHS TrustLondonUK

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