MRE in the mouse brain


Anna Morr, Rafaela Vieira da Silva, Gergerly Bertalan, Barbara Steiner, Carmen Infante Duarte, Ingolf Sack


Alterations and pathological changes in the brain can lead to changes of its viscoelastic properties, which are detectable by magnetic resonance elastography (MRE). In these projects, we study changes in viscoelasticity due to different processes such as inflammation and neurogenesis. In our previous work, we already showed changes in viscoelasticity in pathologies of different mouse models such as Alzheimer’s disease [1], Parkinson [2] and Multiples Sclerosis (EAE mouse model) [3]. We now aim to explore the correlation of viscoelastic changes in the EAE model with biological alterations in the tissue, mainly with changes of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the brain, as inflammation and damage of the central nervous system (CNS) affect the ECM. Our preliminary data suggest that MRE can detect alterations of the CNS matrix composition during disease. Therefore, the specific objective of this SFB-1340 sponsored project is to explore inflammation-related ECM alterations as targets for in vivo imaging of tissue pathology in the course of autoimmune neuroinflammatory disorders such as Multiples Sclerosis and its EAE model.  Additionally, these findings shall be further correlated and explored by ex-vivo test methods such as the surface tensiometer. Furthermore, we are interested how neurogenesis, elicited through voluntary physical exercise, affects the viscoelastic properties of the brain and correlates with biological changes as ECM alterations. Taken together, these projects shed light on processes that affect the stiffness of the brain. These alterations will be correlated with biochemical and histological findings to explore MRE as an in vivo technique to assess disease courses and biological processes in the brain.













  1. Munder, T., et al., MR elastography detection of early viscoelastic response of the murine hippocampus to amyloid beta accumulation and neuronal cell loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. J Magn Reson Imaging, 2018. 47(1): p. 105-114.
  2. Klein, C., et al., Enhanced adult neurogenesis increases brain stiffness: in vivo magnetic resonance elastography in a mouse model of dopamine depletion. PLoS One, 2014. 9(3): p. e92582.
  3. Magnetic resonace elastography reveals altered brain viscoelasticity in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Riek et al 2012.