High Resolution MRI Atlas of the Mouse Brain

The most recent project completed by Paxinos and Watson was the publication, in book form, of the first of a new generation of atlases exploiting the power of magnetic resonance histology, diffusion tensor imaging and digital atlasing. With the combined experience of Prof. Paxinos and Al Johnson (a Professor of Radiology, Physics, and Biomedical Engineering from Duke University) and support from The ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function based at Monash University, an MRI/DTI atlas of the rat brain was constucted , and the next step is the construction of an equivalent mouse brain atlas that can be used as a reference for researchers working with mice, particularly transgenic mice. Accurate brain atlases are essential to studies using animal models of human brain pathology, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. By far the most widely used animal brain atlas for transgenic mice is the histological atlas of the mouse brain by Paxinos and Franklin. The new MRI/DTI atlas of the mouse brain will be directly compatible with the histological atlas (Paxinos and Franklin 4th Ed., 2013). An accurate MR atlas would have many practical and technical advantages over a histological atlas, including the fact that it can generate 3D images, and can be used with living animals, which can be scanned repeatedly without injury.

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