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A stereotaxic, population-averaged T1w ovine brain atlas including cerebral morphology and tissue volumes

 
: Nitzsche, Björn; Frey, Stephen; Collins, Louis D.; Seeger, Johannes; Lobsien, Donald; Dreyer, Antje; Kirsten, Holger; Stoffel, Michael H.; Fonov, Vladimir S.; Boltze, Johannes

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Frontiers in neuroanatomy 9 (2015), Art. 69, 14 pp.
ISSN: 1662-5129
English
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZI ()
Atlas; brain; sheep; SPM; stereotaxy; structural MRI; Tissue Segmentation

Abstract
Standard stereotaxic reference systems play a key role in human brain studies. Stereotaxic coordinate systems have also been developed for experimental animals including non-human primates, dogs, and rodents. However, they are lacking for other species being relevant in experimental neuroscience including sheep. Here, we present a spatial, unbiased ovine brain template with tissue probability maps (TPM) that offer a detailed stereotaxic reference frame for anatomical features and localization of brain areas, thereby enabling inter-individual and cross-study comparability. Three-dimensional data sets from healthy adult Merino sheep (Ovis orientalis aries, 12 ewes and 26 neutered rams) were acquired on a 1.5 T Philips MRI using a T1w sequence. Data were averaged by linear and non-linear registration algorithms. Moreover, animals were subjected to detailed brain volume analysis including examinations with respect to body weight (BW), age, and sex. The created T1w brain template provides an appropriate population-averaged ovine brain anatomy in a spatial standard coordinate system. Additionally, TPM for gray (GM) and white (WM) matter as well as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) classification enabled automatic prior-based tissue segmentation using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). Overall, a positive correlation of GM volume and BW explained about 15% of the variance of GM while a positive correlation between WM and age was found. Absolute tissue volume differences were not detected, indeed ewes showed significantly more GM per bodyweight as compared to neutered rams. The created framework including spatial brain template and TPM represent a useful tool for unbiased automatic image preprocessing and morphological characterization in sheep. Therefore, the reported results may serve as a starting point for further experimental and/or translational research aiming at in vivo analysis in this species.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-349987.html