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Magnetic resonance imaging quality and volumes of brain structures from live and postmortem imaging of California sea lions with clinical signs of domoic acid toxicosis


Magnetic resonance imaging quality and volumes of brain structures from live and postmortem imaging of California sea lions with clinical signs of domoic acid toxicosis



Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 91(3): 243-256



ISSN/ISBN: 0177-5103

PMID: 21133324

Our goal in this study was to compare magnetic resonance images and volumes of brain structures obtained alive versus postmortem of California sea lions Zalophus californianus exhibiting clinical signs of domoic acid (DA) toxicosis and those exhibiting normal behavior. Proton density-(PD) and T2-weighted images of postmortem-intact brains, up to 48 h after death, provided similar quality to images acquired from live sea lions. Volumes of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) of the cerebral hemispheres were similar to volumes calculated from images acquired when the sea lions were alive. However, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volumes decreased due to leakage. Hippocampal volumes from postmortem-intact images were useful for diagnosing unilateral and bilateral atrophy, consequences of DA toxicosis. These volumes were similar to the volumes in the live sea lion studies, up to 48 h postmortem. Imaging formalin-fixed brains provided some information on brain structure; however, images of the hippocampus and surrounding structures were of poorer quality compared to the images acquired alive and postmortem-intact. Despite these issues, volumes of cerebral GM and WM, as well as the hippocampus, were similar to volumes calculated from images of live sea lions and sufficient to diagnose hippocampal atrophy. Thus, postmortem MRI scanning (either intact or formalin-fixed) with volumetric analysis can be used to investigate the acute, chronic and possible developmental effects of DA on the brain of California sea lions.

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Accession: 037440232

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