Age-specific resources in human MRI mitigate processing biases that arise from structural changes across the lifespan. There are
fewer age-specific resources for preclinical imaging, and they only represent developmental periods rather than adulthood. Since rats recapitulate many facets of human aging, it was hypothesized that brain volume and each tissue’s relative contribution to total brain volume would change with age in the adult rat. Data from a longitudinal study of rats at 3, 5, 11, and 17 months old were used to test this hypothesis. Tissue volume was estimated from high resolution structural images using a priori information from tissue probability maps. However, existing tissue probability maps generated inaccurate gray matter probabilities in subcortical structures, particularly the thalamus. To address this issue, gray matter, white matter, and CSF tissue probability maps were generated by combining anatomical and signal intensity information. The effects of age on volumetric estimations
were then assessed with mixed-effects models. Results showed that herein estimation of gray matter volumes better matched histological evidence, as compared to existing resources. All tissue volumes increased with age, and the tissue proportions relative to total brain volume varied across adulthood. Consequently, a set of rat brain templates and tissue probability maps from across the adult lifespan is released to expand the preclinical MRI community’s fundamental resources.
Original languageEnglish
Article number669049
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Early online date7 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022


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