The choice of embedding media affects image quality, tissue R(2)*, and susceptibility behaviors in post‐mortem brain MR microscopy at 7.0T


  • P. Dusek
  • V.I. Madai
  • T. Huelnhagen
  • E. Bahn
  • R. Matej
  • J. Sobesky
  • T. Niendorf
  • Julio Acosta-Cabronero
  • J. Wuerfel


  • Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


  • Magn Reson Med 81 (4): 2688-2701


  • PURPOSE: The quality and precision of post‐mortem MRI microscopy may vary depending on the embedding medium used. To investigate this, our study evaluated the impact of 5 widely used media on: (1) image quality, (2) contrast of high spatial resolution gradient-echo (T(1) and T(2)*-weighted) MR images, (3) effective transverse relaxation rate (R(2)*), and (4) quantitative susceptibility measurements (QSM) of post-mortem brain specimens. METHODS: Five formaldehyde-fixed brain slices were scanned using 7.0T MRI in: (1) formaldehyde solution (formalin), (2) phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), (3) deuterium oxide (D(2)O), (4) perfluoropolyether (Galden), and (5) agarose gel. SNR and contrast-to-noise ratii (SNR/CNR) were calculated for cortex/white matter (WM) and basal ganglia/WM regions. In addition, median R(2)* and QSM values were extracted from caudate nucleus, putamen, globus pallidus, WM, and cortical regions. RESULTS: PBS, Galden, and agarose returned higher SNR/CNR compared to formalin and D(2)O. Formalin fixation, and its use as embedding medium for scanning, increased tissue R(2)*. Imaging with agarose, D(2)O, and Galden returned lower R(2)* values than PBS (and formalin). No major QSM offsets were observed, although spatial variance was increased (with respect to R(2)* behaviors) for formalin and agarose. CONCLUSIONS: Embedding media affect gradient-echo image quality, R(2)*, and QSM in differing ways. In this study, PBS embedding was identified as the most stable experimental setup, although by a small margin. Agarose and Galden were preferred to formalin or D(2)O embedding. Formalin significantly increased R(2)* causing noisier data and increased QSM variance.