Kenneth W Fishbein1, Mikayla L Hall1, Mustapha Bouhrara1, Yulia Grigorova1, Jeffrey Long1, Christopher A Morrell1, Edward G Lakatta1, Peter Rapp1, Alexei Y Bagrov1, Richard G Spencer1, and Olga V Fedorova1
Dahl salt-sensitive rats are a common preclinical model for hypertension.
We compared brain morphology and MRI contrast parameters (T2, T2*, MTR and
diffusion) in Dahl and Sprague-Dawley rats on low-salt and high-salt diets. Two
of five Dahl rats on a high-salt diet exhibited stroke lesions on T2 and diffusion-weighted
images. Dahl rats had smaller brain and hippocampus volumes and larger
percent ventricular volume relative to Sprague-Dawley rats, regardless of diet. Dahl rats on the high-salt diet
had thinner cortex, and longer T2 and shorter T2* in whole brain (excluding
lesions and ventricles). Dahl rat brains therefore exhibit distinct
morphological and contrast features on MRI, some of which are independent
of salt loading.