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Microstructural Changes in the Brain after Acute Alcohol Intoxication Accompanied by Diffuse Axonal Injury in Rats: Assessed In Vivo Using Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging

Author(s): Yuan Xu, Xiran Chen, Qilu Gao, Wenbin Zheng

To utilize brain diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) in rats with acute alcohol intoxication accompanied by diffuse axonal injury (DAI) under high magnetic field 7.0T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and evaluate the impact of alcohol on DAI. Thirty male Sprague- Dawley rats were randomly divided into normal control (N-group), pure DAI (T-group), and acute alcohol intoxication accompanied by DAI (AT-group) groups. Two hours after in vivo modeling, each animal underwent magnetic resonance DKI, followed by decapitation and pathological examination of the brain. Compared with the N-group, the mean kurtosis (MK) values in the frontal lobe, hippocampus, and thalamus of the T-group and AT-group were significantly elevated (P < 0.01). The fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the frontal lobe, hippocampus, and thalamus of the T-group and AT-group were significant reduced (except for the hippocampus of the T-group). However, the mean diffusivity (MD) values of the T-group and AT-group were higher than that of the N-group, but no statistically significant difference was found between the AT-group and N-group. Compared with the T-group, the MK value of the AT-group was significantly elevated (P < 0.01 in the hippocampus and thalamus). Significant differences were also found in the decreased FA value in the hippocampus and in the decreased MD values between the T-group and AT-group. Hematoxylin and eosin staining showed significant abnormal morphological changes in rats of the AT group. DKI can detect microstructural changes in brain tissues associated with acute alcohol intoxication accompanied by DAI. MK value provides a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of severity of brain injury and is a powerful complement to DTI. Acute alcohol intoxication might worsen pathophysiological changes of brain tissues after DAI.

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