The utility of DiceCT imaging for high-throughput comparative neuroanatomical studies

Paul M. Gignac, Nathan J. Kley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Advancements in imaging techniques have drastically improved our ability to visualize, study, and digitally share complex, often minute, anatomical relationships. The recent adoption of soft-tissue X-ray imaging techniques, such as diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT), is beginning to offer previously unattainable insights into the detailed configurations of soft- tissue complexes across Metazoa. As a contrast agent, dissolved iodine diffuses deeply throughout preserved specimens to bind fats and carbohydrates that are natural ly present within metazoan soft tissues, increasing the radiodensities of these tissues in predictable ways. Like the current "gold standard" of magnetic resonance imaging, diceCT does not require physical dissection and can differentiate between the lipid content of myelinated versus nonmyelinated tissues, thereby offering great potential for neuroanatomical studies. Within the brain, for example, diceCT distinguishes myelinated fiber tracts from unmyelinated cortices, nuclei, and ganglia and allows three-dimensional visualization of their anatomical interrelationships at previously unrealized spatial scales. In this study, we illustrate the utility of diceCT for the rapid visualization of both external and internal brain anatomy in vertebrates - alongside the intact bones of the skull and the complete, undisturbed pathways of peripheral nerves, up to and including the target organs that they innervate. We demonstrate the transformative potential of this technique for developing high-resolution neuroanatomical datasets and describe best practices for imaging large numbers of specimens for broad evolutionary studies across vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-190
Number of pages11
JournalBrain, Behavior and Evolution
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Fingerprint

Iodine
Tomography
Vertebrates
Brain
Peripheral Nerves
Practice Guidelines
Skull
Ganglia
Contrast Media
Dissection
Anatomy
Fats
Carbohydrates
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
X-Rays
Lipids
Bone and Bones

Keywords

  • Alcoholic iodine
  • Brain
  • DiceCT
  • Gray matter
  • Lugol's iodine
  • Myelin
  • Neuroanatomical imaging
  • Radiological contrast agents
  • White matter
  • X-ray micro-CT scanning

Cite this

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The utility of DiceCT imaging for high-throughput comparative neuroanatomical studies. / Gignac, Paul M.; Kley, Nathan J.

In: Brain, Behavior and Evolution, Vol. 91, No. 3, 01.08.2018, p. 180-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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