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Invest Radiol. 2009 Dec;44(12):749-56. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0b013e3181b2c135.

Feasibility of functional cardiac MR imaging in mice using a clinical 3 Tesla whole body scanner.

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Department of Clinical Radiology, University Hospital M√ľnster, Germany.



To test the feasibility of cardiac MR imaging in mice using a clinical 3 Tesla whole body MR system for structural and functional analysis. Standard protocols for bright blood cine imaging were adapted for murine dimensions. To validate measurements of functional parameters the MR data were compared with high-resolution echocardiographic measurements.


Cardiac imaging was carried out in CD 1 wild-type mice (n = 8). MR imaging studies were performed using a clinical 3 Tesla MR system (Achieva, Philips). All mice received 2 MR scans and 1 echocardiographic evaluation. For optimal MR signal detection a dedicated solenoid receive-only coil was used. Electrocardiogram signal was recorded using a dedicated small animal electrocardiogram monitoring unit. For imaging we used a retrospectively triggered TFE sequence with a repetition time of 12 ms and an echo time of 4 ms. A dedicated software patch allowed for triggering of cardiac frequency of up to 600 BPM. Doppler-echocardiography was performed using a VisualSonics Vevo 770 high-resolution imaging system with a 30 MHz scanhead. Axial/lateral resolution was 40 of 100 microm and temporal resolution was 150 to 300 frames/s (B-mode) and 1000 frames/s (M-mode) depending on the setting.


MR imaging was successfully carried out in all mice with a sufficient temporal resolution and good signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratio levels allowing for identification of all relevant structures. Accordingly, there was a good scan-rescan reproducibility of MR measurements: Interassay coefficients of variance ranged from 4% for ejection fraction to 12% for endsystolic volume (ESV). Magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiography gave comparable results when using the same geometric model (Teichholz method): EDV: 60.2 +/- 6.1 microL/59.1 +/- 12.3 microL, ESV: 20.0 +/- 2.6 microL/20.7 +/- 7.7 microL, EF: 66.7% +/- 4.0%/65.2% +/- 9.9%, CO 19.5 +/- 3.6 mL/17.9 +/- 2.9 mL. Bland-Altman analysis gave acceptable limits of agreement between both methods: EDV (+28.2/-26.1), ESV (+16.3/-17.7), EF (+19.0/-16.1), CO (10.7/-7.5). When applying the Simpson's method MR volume estimates were significantly higher compared with echocardiography resulting in a lower estimate for the ejection fraction (60% +/- 3.9% vs. 66.7% +/- 4.0%).


Cardiac MR imaging of mice using a clinical 3 Tesla MR system for functional analysis is feasible with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution, good repeatability and reliable results when compared with high-resolution echocardiography.

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