Multi-modal and Functional Neuroimaging Research Group is
Opening new PhD positions
in the field of Neurosciences
Czech-BioImaging call for research projects
The call for the Czech-BioImaging Open Access support for the period of July 2021 – June 2022 has been opened.
Our Latest Research
Advanced MR Techniques for Preoperative Glioma Characterization: Part 1
Preoperative clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocols for gliomas, brain tumors with dismal outcomes due to their infiltrative properties, still rely on conventional structural MRI, which does not deliver information on tumor genotype and is limited in the delineation of diffuse gliomas. The GliMR COST action wants to raise awareness about the state of the art of advanced MRI techniques in gliomas and their possible clinical translation or lack thereof. This review describes current methods, limits, and applications of advanced MRI for the preoperative assessment of glioma, summarizing the level of clinical validation of different techniques. In this first part, we discuss dynamic susceptibility contrast and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, arterial spin labeling, diffusion-weighted MRI, vessel imaging, and magnetic resonance fingerprinting. The second part of this review addresses magnetic resonance spectroscopy, chemical exchange saturation transfer, susceptibility-weighted imaging, MRI-PET, MR elastography, and MR-based radiomics applications.
Molecular Biomarkers of Neuronal Injury in Epilepsy Shared with Neurodegenerative Diseases
In neurodegenerative diseases, changes in neuronal proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood are viewed as potential biomarkers of the primary pathology in the central nervous system (CNS). Recent reports suggest, however, that level of neuronal proteins in fluids also alters in several types of epilepsy in various age groups, including children. With increasing evidence supporting clinical and sub-clinical seizures in Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, and in other less common neurodegenerative conditions, these findings call into question the specificity of neuronal protein response to neurodegenerative process and urge analysis of the effects of concomitant epilepsy and other comorbidities. In this article, we revisit the evidence for alterations in neuronal proteins in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid associated with epilepsy with and without neurodegenerative diseases.
Advanced MR Techniques for Preoperative Glioma Characterization: Part 2
Preoperative clinical MRI protocols for gliomas, brain tumors with dismal outcomes due to their infiltrative properties, still rely on conventional structural MRI, which does not deliver information on tumor genotype and is limited in the delineation of diffuse gliomas. The GliMR COST action wants to raise awareness about the state of the art of advanced MRI techniques in gliomas and their possible clinical translation. This review describes current methods, limits, and applications of advanced MRI for the preoperative assessment of glioma, summarizing the level of clinical validation of different techniques. In this second part, we review magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST), susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI), MRI-PET, MR elastography (MRE), and MR-based radiomics applications. The first part of this review addresses dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI, arterial spin labeling (ASL), diffusion-weighted MRI, vessel imaging, and magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF).
MicroRNA Profiling of Self-Renewing Human Neural Stem Cells Reveals Novel Sets of Differentially Expressed microRNAs During Neural Differentiation In Vitro
The involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in orchestrating self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells has been revealed in a number of recent studies. And while in human pluripotent stem cells, miRNAs have been directly linked to the core pluripotency network, including the cell cycle regulation and the maintenance of the self-renewing capacity, their role in the onset of differentiation in other contexts, such as determination of neural cell fate, remains poorly described. To bridge this gap, we used three model cell types to study miRNA expression patterns: human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), hESCs-derived self-renewing neural stem cells (NSCs), and differentiating NSCs. The comprehensive miRNA profiling presented here reveals novel sets of miRNAs differentially expressed during human neural cell fate determination in vitro.
Predictors of age at diagnosis in autism spectrum disorders: the use of multiple regression analyses and a classification tree on a clinical sample
The increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has led to worldwide interest in factors influencing the age of ASD diagnosis. Parents or caregivers of 237 ASD children (193 boys, 44 girls) diagnosed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) completed a simple descriptive questionnaire. The data were analyzed using the variable-centered multiple regression analysis and the person-centered classification tree method. We believed that the concurrent use of these two methods could produce robust results. The mean age at diagnosis was 5.8 ± 2.2 years (median 5.3 years). Younger ages for ASD diagnosis were predicted (using multiple regression analysis) by higher scores in the ADOS social domain, higher scores in ADOS restrictive and repetitive behaviors and interest domain, higher maternal education, and the shared household of parents.
Infant attachment in the Czech Republic: Categorical and dimensional findings from a post-communist country
Infant attachment remains virtually unexplored in former Eastern Bloc countries. The dimensional approach to infant attachment, which could ease common obstacles in cross-cultural attachment research, necessitates more empirical support. This study explores infant attachment in the Czech Republic, a post-communist country with a unique family policy, using both the categorical and the dimensional models. It also compares the Czech infant attachment distribution to infant attachment distributions in other countries and compares infant attachment distributions in European countries to the Baltimore study sample. In the Strange Situation Procedure, forty-nine (74 %) out of sixty-six mother-infant dyads (35 boys, M = 13.8, SD = 0.9) received the B classification. Despite the generous family policy and cultural emphasis on close mother-infant relationships, the Czech distribution of insecure categories did not differ from the Baltimore study sample.
Utility of quantitative MRI metrics in brain ageing research
The advent of new, advanced quantitative MRI metrics allows for in vivo evaluation of multiple biological processes highly relevant for ageing. The presented study combines several MRI parameters hypothesised to detect distinct biological characteristics as myelin density, cellularity, cellular membrane integrity and iron concentration. 116 healthy volunteers, continuously distributed over the whole adult age span, underwent a multi-modal MRI protocol acquisition.
Scatterplots of individual MRI metrics revealed that certain MRI protocols offer much higher sensitivity to early adulthood changes while plateauing in higher age (e.g., global functional connectivity in cerebral cortex or orientation dispersion index in white matter), while other MRI metrics provided reverse ability-stable levels in young adulthood with sharp changes with rising age (e.g., T1ρ and T2ρ).
Language impairment in Parkinson's disease: fMRI study of sentence reading comprehension
Parkinson's disease (PD) affects the language processes, with a significant impact on the patients' daily communication. We aimed to describe specific alterations in the comprehension of syntactically complex sentences in patients with PD (PwPD) as compared to healthy controls (HC) and to identify the neural underpinnings of these deficits using a functional connectivity analysis of the striatum. A total of 20 patients PwPD and 15 HC participated in the fMRI study. We analyzed their performance of a Test of sentence comprehension (ToSC) adjusted for fMRI. A task-dependent functional connectivity analysis of the striatum was conducted using the psychophysiological interaction method (PPI). On the behavioral level, the PwPD scored significantly lower (mean ± sd: 77.3 ± 12.6) in the total ToSC score than the HC did (mean ± sd: 86.6 ± 8.0), p = 0.02, and the difference was also significant specifically for sentences with a non-canonical word order (PD-mean ± sd: 69.9 ± 14.1, HC-mean ± sd: 80.2 ± 11.5, p = 0.04).