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Infect Immun. 2004 Oct;72(10):5963-71.

Magnetic resonance imaging of pulmonary lesions in guinea pigs infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


We utilized magnetic resonance imaging to visualize lesions in the lungs of guinea pigs infected by low-dose aerosol exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Lesions were prominent in such images, and colorized three-dimensional reconstructions of images revealed a very uniform distribution in the lungs. Lesion numbers after 1 month were approximately similar to the aerosol exposure algorithm, suggesting that each was established by a single bacterium. Numbers of lesions in unprotected and vaccinated animals were similar over the first month but increased thereafter in the control animals, indicating secondary lesion development. Whereas lesion sizes increased progressively in control guinea pigs, lesions remained small in BCG-vaccinated animals. A prominent feature of the disease pathology in unprotected animals was rapid and severe lymphadenopathy of the mediastinal lymph node cluster, which is paradoxical given the strong state of cellular immunity at this time. Further development of this technical approach could be very useful in tracking lesion size, number, and progression in the search for new tuberculosis vaccines.

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