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Sexual dimorphism in pheasant brains (Scientific Reports 2015)


Magnetic resonance and computed tomography study of avian brain compartments' volumes measured by our Fakir probe revealed sexual dimorpism in pheasant brains.

A new precise volume measurement method is based upon coupled magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, computed tomography (CT) . Our approach utilizes a novel interactive Fakir probe cross-referenced with an automated CT protocol to efficiently generate total volumes and surface areas of the brain tissue and endoneurocranial space, as well as the discrete cephalic compartments. We also complemented our procedures by using sodium polytungstate (SPT) as a contrast agent. This greatly enhanced CT applications but did not degrade MR quality and is therefore practical for virtual brain tissue reconstructions employing multiple imaging modalities. To demonstrate our technique, we visualized sex-based brain size differentiation in a sample set of Ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). This revealed no significant variance in relative volume or surface areas of the primary brain regions. Rather, a trend towards isometric enlargement of the total brain and endoneurocranial space was evidenced in males versus females, thus advocating a non-differential sexually dimorphic pattern of brain size increase amongst these facultatively flying birds.

Jirák D., Janáček J. and Kear B.P. (2015): A combined MR and CT study for precise quantitative analysis of the avian brain. Scientific Reports 5: 16002