High-field magnetic resonance imaging of the human temporal lobe

Luis M. Colon-Perez, Michael King, Mansi Parekh, Angelique Boutzoukas, Eduardo Carmona, Michelle Couret, Rosemary Klassen, Thomas H. Mareci, Paul R. Carney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Emerging high-field diffusion weighted MR imaging protocols, along with tractography, can elucidate microstructural changes associated with brain disease at the sub-millimeter image resolution. Epilepsy and other neurological disorders are accompanied by structural changes in the hippocampal formation and associated regions; however, these changes can be subtle and on a much smaller scale than the spatial resolution commonly obtained by current clinical magnetic resonance (MR) protocols in vivo. Methods We explored the possibility of studying the organization of fresh tissue with a 17.6 Tesla magnet using diffusion MR imaging and tractography. The mesoscale organization of the temporal lobe was estimated using a fresh unfixed specimen obtained from a subject who underwent anterior temporal lobectomy for medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Following ex vivo imaging, the tissue was fixed, serial-sectioned, and stained for correlation with imaging. Findings We resolved tissue microstructural organizational features in the temporal lobe from diffusion MR imaging and tractography in fresh tissue. Conclusions Fresh ex vivo MR imaging, along with tractography, revealed complex intra-temporal structural variation corresponding to neuronal cell body layers, dendritic fields, and axonal projection systems evident histologically. This is the first study to describe in detail the human temporal lobe structural organization using high-field MR imaging and tractography. By preserving the 3-dimensional structures of the hippocampus and surrounding structures, specific changes in anatomy may inform us about the changes that occur in TLE in relation to the disease process and structural underpinnings in epilepsy-related memory dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-68
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2015


  • DWI
  • Ex vivo brain imaging
  • High-field MRI
  • Mesoscale structure
  • Tractography


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