Preparation of fixed mouse brains for MRI.
Cahill LS., Laliberté CL., Ellegood J., Spring S., Gleave JA., Eede MCV., Lerch JP., Henkelman RM.
In fixed mouse brain magnetic resonance images, a high prevalence of fixation artifacts have been observed. Of more than 1700 images of fixed brains acquired at our laboratory, fixation artifacts were present in approximately 30%. In this study, two of these artifacts are described and their causes are identified. A hyperintense rim around the brain is observed when using perfusates reconstituted from powder and delivered at a high flow rate. It is proposed that these perfusion conditions cause blockage of the capillary beds and an increase in pressure that ruptures the vessels, resulting in a blister of liquid below the dura mater. Secondly, gray-white matter contrast inversion is observed when too short a fixation time or too low a concentration of fixative is used, resulting in inadequate fixation. The deleterious consequences of these artifacts for quantitative data analysis are discussed, and precautions for their prevention are provided.