MRI signature in a novel mouse model of genetically induced adult oligodendrocyte cell death

Thomas Mueggler, Hartmut Pohl, Christof Baltes, Dieter Riethmacher, Ueli Suter, Markus Rudin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Two general pathological processes contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS): acute inflammation and degeneration. While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is highly sensitive in detecting abnormalities related to acute inflammation both clinically and in animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the correlation of these readouts with acute and future disabilities has been found rather weak. This illustrates the need for imaging techniques addressing neurodegenerative processes associated with MS. In the present work we evaluated the sensitivity of different MRI techniques (T 2 mapping, macrophage tracking based on labeling cells in vivo by ultrasmall particles of iron oxide (USPIO), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetization transfer imaging (MTI)) to detect histopathological changes in a novel animal model making use of intrinsic, temporally and spatially controlled triggering of oligodendrocyte cell death. This mouse model allows studying the MRI signature associated to neurodegenerative processes of MS in the absence of adaptive inflammatory components that appear to be foremost in the EAE models. Our results revealed pronounced T 2 hyperintensities in brain stem and cerebellar structures, which we attribute to structural alteration of white matter by pronounced vacuolation. Brain areas were found devoid of significant macrophage infiltration in line with the absence of a peripheral inflammatory response. The significant decrease in diffusion anisotropy derived from DTI measures in these structures is mainly caused by a pronounced decrease in diffusivity parallel to the fiber indicative of axonal damage. Triggering of oligodendrocyte ablation did not translate into a significant increase in radial diffusivity. Only minor decreases in MT ratio have been observed, which is attributed to inefficient removal of myelin debris.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1036
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 16 2012


  • Axonal injury
  • Demyelination
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mouse brain
  • Oligodendrocyte cell death
  • T hyperintensities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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