Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a high incidence of long-term morbidity. Manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) provides high contrast structural and functional detail of the brain in-vivo. The study utilized serial MEMRI scanning in the fluid percussion injury (FPI) rat's model to assess long-term changes in the brain following TBI. Rats underwent a left-sided craniotomy and a 3.5 atmosphere FPI pulse (n=23) or sham procedure (n=22). MEMRI acquisition was performed at baseline, 1 day, 1 month, and 6 months after FPI. Volume changes and MnCl 2 enhancement were measured blindly using region-of-interest analysis and the results analyzed with repeated measures MANOVA. Compared to the shams, FPI animals showed a progressive decrease in brain volume from 1 (right, p=0.02; left, p=0.008) to 6 months (right, p=0.04; left, p=0.006), with progression over time (F=7.16, p=0.00018). Similar changes were found in the cortex and the hippocampus. Conversely, the ventricular volume was increased at 1 (p=0.02) and 6 months (p=0.003), with progression over time (F=7.27, p=0.0001). There were no differences in thalamic or amygdalae volumes. The severity of the early neuromotor deficits and the T2 signal intensity of the subacute focal lesion were highly predictive of the severity of the long-term hippocampal decrease, and the former was also associated with the degree of neuronal sprouting. Differential MnCl2 enhancement occurred only in the dentate gyrus at 1 month on the side of trauma (p=0.04). Progressive functional and structural changes occur in specific brain regions post-FPI. The severity of the neuromotor deficit and focal signal changes on MRI subacutely post-injury are predictive of severity of these long-term neurodegenerative changes.
- Manganese-enhanced MRI
- Traumatic brain injury