About this Research Topic
Neuropsychiatric disorders are a leading cause of disabilities imposing severe social and economic burden worldwide. Despite decades of intensive research, the exact pathophysiology in most of these disorders is still unknown and there is a pressing need for objective biomarkers to help the early diagnosis.
Novel neuroimaging techniques involving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans may help us understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these disorders and hold the promise to discover clinically useful biomarkers.
The rapidly developing imaging tools allow us to visualize and quantify specific molecular, metabolic, structural and functional changes related to different neuropsychiatric disorders. For example, with the quick evolution of the MRI data analysis, MRI studies involving new tools to measure the structural and functional alterations represent promising methods.
Developing novel resting-state and task-based functional MRI together with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) may also significantly advance this field.
And last but not least, the development of novel radioactive tracers in SPECT and PET imaging or the new combination of different optical imaging methods like spectroscopy can provide new insights into the pathophysiology and treatment efficacy of these disorders or may even predict their treatment response.
Besides human studies, animal models for various neuropsychiatric disorders represent indispensable tools to monitor disease progression and to test novel therapeutic treatment strategies.
The use of animal models in combination with noninvasive neuroimaging methods would allow us to use longitudinal study designs, which in turn would help to unravel the temporal dynamics of disease onset and progression. The identification of vulnerability factors and markers for the early pathophysiological changes would be also extremely useful for the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders. Furthermore, preclinical neuroimaging studies can be used in combination with more invasive or post-mortem investigations.
Animal studies may, therefore, allow substantiating the in vivo detected microstructural changes by postmortem investigations using light- or electron-microscopic approaches. A combination of such methods would greatly advance the interpretation of the MRI findings.
Finally, animal models could aid us to improve the clinical image acquisition procedures and to develop novel multi-modal imaging methods.
The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together experts using various neuroimaging tools to examine any type of neurological or psychiatric disorder in a clinical or pre-clinical setting. All kinds of imaging studies focusing on functional, neuroanatomical or behavioral changes involving human subjects, standard laboratory rodents, or larger animals including non-human primates are welcome.
We are especially interested in the following topics:
• The application of various neuroimaging methods in determining the translational value of an animal model and in monitoring the disease progression;
• The development and validation of new imaging tracers and neuroimaging biomarkers;
• The combination of different imaging methods that yield novel readouts;
• The use of in and ex vivo methods to investigate the chemical composition and molecular changes within the CNS;
• The use of novel techniques to analyze brain images especially for the evaluation of brain connectivity.
Keywords: animal models, CT, MRI, fMRI, PET
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