2017  •   Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes

New Insights into the Brain, Consciousness and More with QUTE-CE MRI-Based Quantitative Vascular Mapping

Lead Presenter: Liam Timms

PI: Srinivas Sridhar

Winner


Interdisciplinary Topics, Graduate Innovator Award

For the brain to work and remain healthy, it needs a complex network of blood vessels to dynamically allocate oxygen and other resources to active regions. How these vessels are distributed, structured and used can tell use a lot about the function of the brain, how diseases progress and even about its evolution. Using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology invented in our lab called Quantitative Ultra-Short Time-to-Echo Contrast Enhanced (QUTE-CE) MRI, we quantitative measured the distribution of blood throughout 173 regions of the healthy awake rat brain in unparalleled precision and detail. From this, we discovered an underlying brain network of two circuits which may have evolved to facilitate consciousness. Going one step further, we measured changes in the blood volume when the rat lost consciousness due to anesthesia. Our data showed significant changes across many (66) regions and these regions fit into multiple brain circuits which help explain the effects of anesthesia and the loss of consciousness. Additionally, we exposed the rats to 5% CO2 filled air and 84 regions showed significant increases, further verifying our technique and carrying other implications for the evolution and structure of the brain. These data were collected all non-invasively, using an FDA approved nanomedicine to allow possible translation into studying humans.

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