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Ultra High Field MRS Assessment of MPTP, Rotenone, & BSO Effects in Rodents

Recent technical developments with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) have provided an extraordinary ability to non-invasively monitor brain function in humans. The neurochemical biopsy afforded by MRS provides information about specific neurotransmitters (e.g. glutamate, GABA) and cellular functions such as oxidative stress and energy status. However, the neurobiological significance of these MRS-visible neurochemicals remains to be fully elucidated. Our research goal is to develop a neurochemical fingerprint with MRS at high field strength (11.7 tesla) that describes the chemically induced loss of dopamine neurons in rats and mice. By selectively inducing dopamine cell death by three distinct mechanisms we hope to gain insight into the abnormal process of dopamine neuronal loss while simultaneously generating the metabolic signature of dopamine cell loss. Since pre-clinical MRS findings can be directly translated into clinical utility, the MRS-derived brainprint derived in the pre-clinical PD models can be tested in patients. If the MRS brainprint shows high fidelity and selectivity for PD, it has notable potential to assess putative neuroprotective strategies that retard or prevent the aberrant loss of dopamine cells.


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