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Title: Brain imaging and activation using MRI and magnetic particles
Author: Yu, Yichao
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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In recent years, a wave of technologies that seek to probe neural structure and function with reduced disturbance to the integrity of the system have emerged, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optogenetics, both of which enable researchers to investigate the brain while preserving its intactness to an unprecedented extent. This thesis presents a series of studies along these two lines, including MRI brain phenotyping and the development of a novel brain stimulation technique. Firstly, high-resolution MRI was combined with advanced image analysis techniques to examine how pathology impacts the volume of brain regions. The aim was to develop a high-throughput screen for neuroanatomical abnormalities in mouse models. A protocol optimised for fixed brains and improved to allow simultaneous scan of multiple samples was applied to two disease models and an injury model. In the first disease model, brain structural changes associated with adenosine deaminase deficiency were identified, and these findings were consistent with previous anecdotal observations in human patients. The latter two studies, however, were hampered by artefacts and therefore inconclusive. Next, a technology allowing remote stimulation of brain cells using a magnetic field was developed. It was demonstrated that the mechanosensitive astrocytes, when decorated with iron oxide particles, could be stimulated upon the application of a magnetic field both in vitro and in vivo. While targeted astroglial stimulation was achieved in tissue cultures, further work is needed to investigate the specificity of the in vivo manipulations. These brain imaging and activation technologies show promise as useful tools for studying a whole, comparatively less compromised brain: the MRI technique could enable brain structural changes in disease and injury models to be identified with relative ease, and the remote control technology could allow astroglial function to be studied in a minimally invasive fashion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available