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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Nov;81(5):900-5. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2009.09-0338.

Micro-positron emission tomography in the evaluation of Trypanosoma cruzi-induced heart disease: Comparison with other modalities.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.


Noninvasive assessment of cardiac structure and function is essential to understand the natural course of murine infection with Trypanosoma cruzi. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and echocardiography have been used to monitor anatomy and function; positron emission tomography (PET) is ideal for monitoring metabolic events in the myocardium. Mice infected with T. cruzi (Brazil strain) were imaged 15-100 days post infection (dpi). Quantitative (18)F-FDG microPET imaging, MRI and echocardiography were performed and compared. Tracer ((18)F-FDG) uptake was significantly higher in infected mice at all days of infection, from 15 to 100 dpi. Dilatation of the right ventricular chamber was observed by MRI from 30 to 100 dpi in infected mice. Echocardiography revealed significantly reduced ejection fraction by 60 dpi. Combination of these three complementary imaging modalities makes it possible to noninvasively quantify cardiovascular function, morphology, and metabolism from the earliest days of infection through the chronic phase.

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