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Pediatr Cardiol. 2011 Mar;32(3):290-6. doi: 10.1007/s00246-011-9894-y. Epub 2011 Feb 6.

Cardiomyocyte death: insights from molecular and microstructural magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 5404, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Cardiomyocytes can die via necrosis, apoptosis, and autophagy. Although the molecular signals and pathways underlying these processes have been well elucidated, the pathophysiology of cardiomyocyte death remains incompletely understood. This review describes the development and application of novel imaging techniques to detect and characterize cardiomyocyte death noninvasively in vivo. It focuses on molecular and microstructural magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and their respective abilities to image cellular events such as apoptosis, inflammation, and myofiber architecture. These in vivo imaging techniques have the potential to provide novel insights into the mechanisms of cardiomyocyte death and to help guide the development of novel cardioprotective therapies.

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