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 Methods

 Animal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (MRS)

For our experiments, we use a 4.7T MRI scanner specifically designed for research in small rodents. The system was built by Bruker BioSpin ( Karlsruhe , Germany ) and is equipped with a BGA12 gradient system with a maximum gradient strength of 200 mT/m (Fig. 1). For signal acquisition, a small animal imaging system, which contains a head coil for brain research, is available for imaging the brains of mice, rats or Mongolian gerbils. The coils are custom-made by Doty Scientific ( Columbia , South Carolina , USA ; Fig. 2).

While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows us to evaluate structural changes induced by disease or genetic modification, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) reveals biochemical alterations within a certain structure of the brain (Fig. 3). Both methods allow for the characterization of animals and for the evaluations of potential therapeutic treatments.

Furthermore, magnetic resonance methods applied in our lab cover a wide range of evolving techniques. Besides MRI and MRS, modern techniques, such as diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), functional MRI (fMRI), and chemical shift imaging (CSI), are used in our research.

Fig. 1: 4.7T animal scanner from Bruker BioSpin

Fig. 2: Small animal imaging system.

Fig. 3: Example of an MRS study of biochemical alterations.

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