Diffusion-weighted tractography in the common marmoset monkey at 9.4T
Journal of neurophysiology
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The common marmoset () is a small New World primate that is becoming increasingly popular in the neurosciences as an animal model of preclinical human disease. With several major disorders characterized by alterations in neural white matter (e.g., multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia), proposed to be transgenically modeled using marmosets, the ability to isolate and characterize reliably major white matter fiber tracts with MRI will be of use for evaluating structural brain changes related to disease processes and symptomatology. Here, we propose protocols for isolating major white matter fiber tracts in the common marmoset using in vivo ultrahigh-field MRI (9.4T) diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) data. With the use of a high angular-resolution DWI (256 diffusion-encoding directions) sequence, collected on four anesthetized marmosets, we provide guidelines for manually drawing fiber-tracking regions of interest, based on easily identified anatomical landmarks in DWI native space. These fiber-tract isolation protocols are expected to be experimentally useful for visualization and quantification of individual white matter fiber tracts in both control and experimental groups of marmosets (e.g., transgenic models). As disease models in the marmoset advance, the determination of how macroscopic white matter anatomy is altered as a function of disease state will be relevant in bridging the existing translational gap between preclinical rodent models and human patients. Although significant progress has been made in mapping white matter connections in the marmoset brain using ex vivo tracing techniques, the application of in vivo virtual dissection of major white matter fiber tracts has been established by few studies in the marmoset literature. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of whole-brain diffusion-weighted tractography in anesthetized marmosets at ultrahigh-field MRI (9.4T) and propose protocols for isolating nine major white matter fiber tracts in the marmoset brain.