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Magnetic resonance imaging to assess blood-brain barrier damage in murine trypanosomiasis

Rodgers, Jean and McCabe, Christopher and Gettinby, George and Bradley, Barbara and Condon, Barrie and Kennedy, Peter G.E. (2011) Magnetic resonance imaging to assess blood-brain barrier damage in murine trypanosomiasis. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 84 (2). pp. 344-350.

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The ability of trypanosomes to invade the brain and induce an inflammatory reaction is well-recognized. This study uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in conjunction with a murine model of central nervous system (CNS) stage trypanosomiasis to investigate this phenomenon at the level of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Mice were scanned before and after administration of the contrast agent. Signal enhancement maps were generated, and the percentage signal change was calculated. The severity of the neuroinflammation was also assessed. Statistical analysis of the signal change data revealed a significantly (P = 0.028) higher signal enhancement in mice at 28 days post-infection (least squares mean = 26.709) compared with uninfected animals (6.298), indicating the presence of BBB impairment. Leukocytes were found in the meninges and perivascular space of some blood vessels in the infected mice. This study shows that the integrity of the BBB is compromised during CNS stage trypanosomiasis and that the impairment does not correlate with inflammatory cell infiltration.