Methods ARTICLE

Front. Psychiatry, 03 October 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00053

Synergy of image analysis for animal and human neuroimaging supports translational research on drug abuse

  • 1 Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • 2 Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 3 Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 4 Biomedical Research Imaging Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 5 Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

The use of structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in animal models of neuropathology is of increasing interest to the neuroscience community. In this work, we present our approach to create optimal translational studies that include both animal and human neuroimaging data within the frameworks of a study of post-natal neuro-development in intra-uterine cocaine-exposure. We propose the use of non-invasive neuroimaging to study developmental brain structural and white matter pathway abnormalities via sMRI and DTI, as advanced MR imaging technology is readily available and automated image analysis methodology have recently been transferred from the human to animal imaging setting. For this purpose, we developed a synergistic, parallel approach to imaging and image analysis for the human and the rodent branch of our study. We propose an equivalent design in both the selection of the developmental assessment stage and the neuroimaging setup. This approach brings significant advantages to study neurobiological features of early brain development that are common to animals and humans but also preserve analysis capabilities only possible in animal research. This paper presents the main framework and individual methods for the proposed cross-species study design, as well as preliminary DTI cross-species comparative results in the intra-uterine cocaine-exposure study.

Keywords: small animal imaging, neonatal neuroimaging, drug abuse, brain segmentation, white matter pathways, magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging

Citation: Gerig G, Oguz I, Gouttard S, Lee J, An H, Lin W, McMurray M, Grewen K, Johns J and Styner MA (2011) Synergy of image analysis for animal and human neuroimaging supports translational research on drug abuse. Front. Psychiatry 2:53. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00053

Received: 18 February 2011; Accepted: 11 September 2011;
Published online: 03 October 2011.

Edited by:

Linda Mayes, Yale University, USA

Reviewed by:

Andrew James Gerber, Columbia University, USA
Hedy Kober, Yale University, USA

Copyright: © 2011 Gerig, Oguz, Gouttard, Lee, An, Lin, McMurray, Grewen, Johns and Styner. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Martin Andreas Styner, Neuro Image Research and Analysis Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160, USA. e-mail: styner@cs.unc.edu