Magnetic resonance elastography – towards a stiffness atlas of the canine brain for translational neurology

Nina Rzechorzek, Lucy Hiscox, Eric Barnhill, Sebastian Hirsch, Paul Kennedy, John Huston, Tobias Schwarz, Ingolf Sack, Scott Semple, Katia Marioni-Henry, Neil Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Tissue mechanical properties vary over several orders of magnitude
in the disease state and elude current veterinary neuroimaging
modalities. Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) combines
conventional MRI with acoustic wave propagation to generate
high-resolution viscoelasticity or ‘stiffness’ data and is emerging as
a valuable, non-invasive diagnostic tool in human neurology. The
purpose of this study was to establish whether MRE could be
applied to the canine brain.
Post-mortem brain scans were performed on canines euthanized
on welfare grounds with approval of the R(D)SVS Veterinary Ethical
Review Committee. A standard cartesian Echo Planar Imaging
sequence with additional motion encoding gradients was used for
multiple frequency (30–100 Hz) acquisition on a 3T Verio MRI
system (Siemens Medical Systems), with vibrations generated by
the Resoundant actuator and head pillow (
Raw phase images were analysed with the Elastography Software
Pipeline to produce maps of viscoelastic parameters.
Our protocol readily propagated waves into the specimens
enabling construction of high-resolution elastograms of the canine
brain. Variation in tissue stiffness across different brain regions
was observed, as noted in the human brain in vivo. Mean whole
brain tissue viscoelasticity standard error was 2.99 0.30 kPa
(n = 3).
This is the first demonstration that acoustic waves can be propagated
into the canine brain in situ. Our follow-on objective is to
construct a reference atlas of canine brain stiffness against which
to test the sensitivity of MRE for detecting and differentiating agerelated
and pathological changes. ‘Virtual palpation’ of the brain
with MRE has the potential to revolutionize veterinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016

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