Neurodegenerative diseases are a key focus in basic and clinical science due to their prevalence, the impact on patients and the poor availability of therapies.

Preclinical imaging studies and their potentially translational findings represent a promising way forwards in the study of complex neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease.

The significance of minimally- and non-invasive imaging of small animals is constantly increasing due to advances made over recent years in modalities such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Scientists use these techniques to characterize various models of neurodegenerative pathology and to observe pathological features associated with this neurodegeneration.

MRI instruments provide high spatial resolution in vivo imaging for determining the structure and function of central nervous system tissues, as well as being powerful tools for evaluating potential therapies and quickly generating predictive data. The non-invasive nature of MRI enables longitudinal measurement, thereby increasing statistical power and reducing the number of animals required for experiments.

While the majority of preclinical MRI systems today use magnetic field strengths of 7 or 9.4 Tesla,Bruker offers a full range of field strengths from the BioSpec 3T up to the world's leading commercially available horizontal field strength of 15.2 T. All of Bruker's MRI instruments can be combined with MRI CryoProbe technology providing an unsurpassed sensitivity boost for small animal MRI.

Bruker’s instrument portfolio also features a range of sophisticated PET systems for investigation of pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease. With the wide range of novel  radiotracers now available, PET can be used, foe example, in models of Alzheimer’s disease to investigate microglia activation and β-amyloid and tau depositions.

For the best of both worlds, Bruker’s hybrid PET/MR instruments, combine the complementary natures of MRI and PET to provide additional insights that are not obtainable with either modality alone. These instruments provide the high-resolution morphological information and good soft-tissue contrast capabilities of MRI with high detection sensitivity and precise quantification capabilities of PET.