JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In

Summary

Abstract

Introduction

Protocol

Representative Results

Discussion

Acknowledgements

Materials

References

Neuroscience

Standardized Data Acquisition for Neuromelanin-Sensitive Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Substantia Nigra

Published: September 8th, 2021

DOI:

10.3791/62493

1New York State Psychiatric Institute, 2Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University
* These authors contributed equally

This protocol shows how to acquire neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging data of the substantia nigra.

The dopaminergic system plays a crucial role in healthy cognition (e.g., reward learning and uncertainty) and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia). Neuromelanin is a byproduct of dopamine synthesis that accumulates in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. Neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (NM-MRI) is a noninvasive method for measuring neuromelanin in those dopaminergic neurons, providing a direct measure of dopaminergic cell loss in the substantia nigra and a proxy measure of dopamine function. Although NM-MRI has been shown to be useful for studying various neuropsychiatric disorders, it is challenged by a limited field-of-view in the inferior-superior direction resulting in the potential loss of data from the accidental exclusion of part of the substantia nigra. In addition, the field is lacking a standardized protocol for the acquisition of NM-MRI data, a critical step in facilitating large-scale multisite studies and translation into the clinic. This protocol describes a step-by-step NM-MRI volume placement procedure and online quality control checks to ensure the acquisition of good-quality data covering the entire substantia nigra.

Neuromelanin (NM) is a dark pigment found in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra (SN) and noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus (LC)1,2. NM is synthesized by the iron-dependent oxidation of cytosolic dopamine and norepinephrine and is stored in autophagic vacuoles in the soma3. It first appears in humans around 2-3 years of age and accumulates with age1,4,5.

Within the NM-containing vacuoles of SN and LC neurons, NM forms complexes with iron. These NM....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

NOTE: The research conducted to develop this protocol was performed in compliance with New York State Psychiatric Institute Institutional Review Board guidelines (IRB #7655). One subject was scanned for recording the protocol video, and written informed consent was obtained. Refer to the Table of Materials for details about the MRI scanner used in this protocol.

1. MRI acquisition parameters

  1. Prepare to acquire high-resolution T1w images using a 3D magnetization pre.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Figure 4 shows the representative results from a 28-year-old female participant with no psychiatric or neurological disorders. The NM-MRI protocol ensures complete coverage of the SN, achieved by following step 2 of the protocol outlined in Figure 1, and satisfactory NM-MRI images by following step 3 of the protocol. Excellent contrast between the SN and neighboring white matter regions with negligible NM concentration (i.e., crus cerebri) can be seen. Thes.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The dopaminergic system plays a crucial role in healthy cognition and neuropsychiatric disorders. The development of noninvasive methods that can be used to repeatedly investigate the dopaminergic system in vivo is critical for the development of clinically meaningful biomarkers. The protocol described here supplies step-by-step instructions for acquiring good-quality NM-MRI images of the SN, including placement of the NM-MRI volume and quality control checks to ensure usable data.

Ev.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Dr. Horga received support from the NIMH (R01-MH114965, R01-MH117323). Dr. Wengler received support from NIMH (F32-MH125540).

....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging General Electric GE SIGNA Premier with 48-channel head coil

  1. Zecca, L., et al. New melanic pigments in the human brain that accumulate in aging and block environmental toxic metals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105 (45), 17567-17572 (2008).
  2. Zucca, F. A., et al. The neuromelanin of human substantia nigra: physiological and pathogenic aspects. Pigment Cell Research. 17 (6), 610-617 (2004).
  3. Sulzer, D., et al. Neuromelanin biosynthesis is driven by excess cytosolic catecholamines not accumulated by synaptic vesicles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 97 (22), 11869-11874 (2000).
  4. Cowen, D. The melanoneurons of the human cerebellum (nucleus pigmentosus cerebellaris) and homologues in the monkey. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology. 45 (3), 205-221 (1986).
  5. Zecca, L., et al. The absolute concentration of nigral neuromelanin, assayed by a new sensitive method, increases throughout the life and is dramatically decreased in Parkinson's disease. FEBS Letters. 510 (3), 216-220 (2002).
  6. Sulzer, D., et al. Neuromelanin detection by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and its promise as a biomarker for Parkinson's disease. NPJ Parkinson's Disease. 4 (1), 11 (2018).
  7. Zucca, F. A., et al. Neuromelanin organelles are specialized autolysosomes that accumulate undegraded proteins and lipids in aging human brain and are likely involved in Parkinson's disease. NPJ Parkinson's Disease. 4 (1), 17 (2018).
  8. Chen, X., et al. Simultaneous imaging of locus coeruleus and substantia nigra with a quantitative neuromelanin MRI approach. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 32 (10), 1301-1306 (2014).
  9. Sasaki, M., et al. Neuromelanin magnetic resonance imaging of locus ceruleus and substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. Neuroreport. 17 (11), 1215-1218 (2006).
  10. Trujillo, P., et al. Contrast mechanisms associated with neuromelanin-MRI. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 78 (5), 1790-1800 (2017).
  11. Kitao, S., et al. Correlation between pathology and neuromelanin MR imaging in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Neuroradiology. 55 (8), 947-953 (2013).
  12. Cassidy, C. M., et al. Neuromelanin-sensitive MRI as a noninvasive proxy measure of dopamine function in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (11), 5108-5117 (2019).
  13. Abi-Dargham, A., et al. Increased striatal dopamine transmission in schizophrenia: confirmation in a second cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry. 155 (6), 761-767 (1998).
  14. Laruelle, M., et al. Single photon emission computerized tomography imaging of amphetamine-induced dopamine release in drug-free schizophrenic subjects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93 (17), 9235-9240 (1996).
  15. Breier, A., et al. Schizophrenia is associated with elevated amphetamine-induced synaptic dopamine concentrations: evidence from a novel positron emission tomography method. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 94 (6), 2569-2574 (1997).
  16. Abi-Dargham, A., et al. Increased baseline occupancy of D-2 receptors by dopamine in schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 97 (14), 8104-8109 (2000).
  17. Hietala, J., et al. Presynaptic dopamine function in striatum of neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients. Lancet. 346 (8983), 1130-1131 (1995).
  18. Lindström, L. H., et al. Increased dopamine synthesis rate in medial prefrontal cortex and striatum in schizophrenia indicated by L-(β-11C) DOPA and PET. Biological Psychiatry. 46 (5), 681-688 (1999).
  19. Meyer-Lindenberg, A., et al. Reduced prefrontal activity predicts exaggerated striatal dopaminergic function in schizophrenia. Nature Neuroscience. 5 (3), 267-271 (2002).
  20. McGowan, S., Lawrence, A. D., Sales, T., Quested, D., Grasby, P. Presynaptic dopaminergic dysfunction in schizophrenia: a positron emission tomographic [18F] fluorodopa study. Archives of General Psychiatry. 61 (2), 134-142 (2004).
  21. Bose, S. K., et al. Classification of schizophrenic patients and healthy controls using [18F] fluorodopa PET imaging. Schizophrenia Research. 106 (2-3), 148-155 (2008).
  22. Kegeles, L. S., et al. Increased synaptic dopamine function in associative regions of the striatum in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry. 67 (3), 231-239 (2010).
  23. Toru, M., et al. Neurotransmitters, receptors and neuropeptides in post-mortem brains of chronic schizophrenic patients. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 78 (2), 121-137 (1988).
  24. Perez-Costas, E., Melendez-Ferro, M., Rice, M. W., Conley, R. R., Roberts, R. C. Dopamine pathology in schizophrenia: analysis of total and phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase in the substantia nigra. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 3, 31 (2012).
  25. Howes, O. D., et al. Midbrain dopamine function in schizophrenia and depression: a post-mortem and positron emission tomographic imaging study. Brain. 136 (11), 3242-3251 (2013).
  26. Bernheimer, H., Birkmayer, W., Hornykiewicz, O., Jellinger, K., Seitelberger, F. Brain dopamine and the syndromes of Parkinson and Huntington Clinical, morphological and neurochemical correlations. Journal of the Neurological Sciences. 20 (4), 415-455 (1973).
  27. Hirsch, E., Graybiel, A. M., Agid, Y. A. Melanized dopaminergic neurons are differentially susceptible to degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Nature. 334 (6180), 345 (1988).
  28. Fearnley, J. M., Lees, A. J. Ageing and Parkinson's disease: substantia nigra regional selectivity. Brain. 114 (5), 2283-2301 (1991).
  29. Damier, P., Hirsch, E., Agid, Y., Graybiel, A. The substantia nigra of the human brain: II. Patterns of loss of dopamine-containing neurons in Parkinson's disease. Brain. 122 (8), 1437-1448 (1999).
  30. Horga, G., Wengler, K., Cassidy, C. M. Neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging as a proxy marker for catecholamine function in psychiatry. JAMA Psychiatry. 78 (7), 788-789 (2021).
  31. Wengler, K., et al. Cross-scanner harmonization of neuromelanin-sensitive MRI for multisite studies. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. , (2021).
  32. Wengler, K., He, X., Abi-Dargham, A., Horga, G. Reproducibility assessment of neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging protocols for region-of-interest and voxelwise analyses. NeuroImage. 208, 116457 (2020).
  33. Griswold, M. A., et al. Generalized autocalibrating partially parallel acquisitions (GRAPPA). Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 47 (6), 1202-1210 (2002).
  34. vander Pluijm, M., et al. Reliability and reproducibility of neuromelanin-sensitive imaging of the substantia nigra: a comparison of three different sequences. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 53 (5), 712-721 (2020).
  35. Cassidy, C. M., et al. Evidence for dopamine abnormalities in the substantia nigra in cocaine addiction revealed by neuromelanin-sensitive MRI. American Journal of Psychiatry. 177 (11), 1038-1047 (2020).
  36. Wengler, K., et al. Association between neuromelanin-sensitive MRI signal and psychomotor slowing in late-life depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 46, 1233-1239 (2020).
  37. Biondetti, E., et al. Spatiotemporal changes in substantia nigra neuromelanin content in Parkinson's disease. Brain. 143 (9), 2757-2770 (2020).
  38. Shibata, E., et al. Use of neuromelanin-sensitive MRI to distinguish schizophrenic and depressive patients and healthy individuals based on signal alterations in the substantia nigra and locus ceruleus. Biological Psychiatry. 64 (5), 401-406 (2008).
  39. Fabbri, M., et al. Substantia nigra neuromelanin as an imaging biomarker of disease progression in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Parkinson's Disease. 7 (3), 491-501 (2017).
  40. Matsuura, K., et al. Neuromelanin magnetic resonance imaging in Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy. European Neurology. 70 (1-2), 70-77 (2013).
  41. Watanabe, Y., et al. Neuromelanin magnetic resonance imaging reveals increased dopaminergic neuron activity in the substantia nigra of patients with schizophrenia. PLoS One. 9 (8), 104619 (2014).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo

Privacy

Terms of Use

Policies

Research

Education

ABOUT JoVE

Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved