Ex-vivo MRI provides images at essentially the same time as histological examination of the tissue, and, therefore, allows linking MRI signals to neuropathology findings. Although long scan times are feasible in ex-vivo MRI (generating higher spatial resolution and/or signal to noise ratio compared to in-vivo imaging), we have chosen to collect ex-vivo MRI data with in-vivo-like image properties to facilitate translation. Using this approach, we have developed a unique large database including longitudinal clinical, in-vivo MRI, ex-vivo MRI and neuropathology data on the same persons, and have demonstrated how to perform translational ex-vivo brain MRI.

  • We have demonstrated how brain T2 values change with time postmortem.
  • We have shown that T2 constants measured ex-vivo are linearly related to T2 constants measured in-vivo.
  • We have established that hippocampal volume measured ex-vivo is related to multiple cognitive abilities assessed proximate to death, with its strongest association with episodic memory.
  • We have demonstrated that regional brain volumes remain relatively unchanged across time postmortem, at least for the first 6 months after death.
  • We have found a close linear correspondence between in-vivo and ex-vivo regional brain volume measurements.

Selected Related Publications

  • Dawe RJ, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Vasireddi SK, Arfanakis K. Postmortem MRI of human brain hemispheres: T2 relaxation times during formaldehyde fixation. Magn Reson Med 2009;61:810-818.
  • Dawe RJ, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Arfanakis K. Neuropathologic correlates of hippocampal atrophy in the elderly: a clinical, pathologic, postmortem MRI study. PLoS One 2011;6:e26286.
  • Kotrotsou A, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Dawe RJ, Golak T, Leurgans SE, Yu L, Arfanakis K. Ex vivo MR volumetry of human brain hemispheres. Magn Reson Med 2014;71:364-374.
T2 over time postmortem
Ex-vivo T2 changes
Hemi volumes vs. time postmortem
Volumes ex-vivo vs. in-vivo