Morphological and functional midbrain phenotypes in Fibroblast Growth Factor 17 mutant mice detected by Mn-enhanced MRI.
Yu X., Nieman BJ., Sudarov A., Szulc KU., Abdollahian DJ., Bhatia N., Lalwani AK., Joyner AL., Turnbull DH.
With increasing efforts to develop and utilize mouse models of a variety of neuro-developmental diseases, there is an urgent need for sensitive neuroimaging methods that enable in vivo analysis of subtle alterations in brain anatomy and function in mice. Previous studies have shown that the brains of Fibroblast Growth Factor 17 null mutants (Fgf17(-/-)) have anatomical abnormalities in the inferior colliculus (IC)-the auditory midbrain-and minor foliation defects in the cerebellum. In addition, changes in the expression domains of several cortical patterning genes were detected, without overt changes in forebrain morphology. Recently, it has also been reported that Fgf17(-/-) mutants have abnormal vocalization and social behaviors, phenotypes that could reflect molecular changes in the cortex and/or altered auditory processing / perception in these mice. We used manganese (Mn)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) to analyze the anatomical phenotype of Fgf17(-/-) mutants in more detail than achieved previously, detecting changes in IC, cerebellum, olfactory bulb, hypothalamus and frontal cortex. We also used MEMRI to characterize sound-evoked activity patterns, demonstrating a significant reduction of the active IC volume in Fgf17(-/-) mice. Furthermore, tone-specific (16- and 40-kHz) activity patterns in the IC of Fgf17(-/-) mice were observed to be largely overlapping, in contrast to the normal pattern, separated along the dorsal-ventral axis. These results demonstrate that Fgf17 plays important roles in both the anatomical and functional development of the auditory midbrain, and show the utility of MEMRI for in vivo analyses of mutant mice with subtle brain defects.