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J Nucl Med. 2010 Aug;51(8):1277-84. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.110.076448. Epub 2010 Jul 21.

Isochronous assessment of cardiac metabolism and function in mice using hybrid PET/MRI.

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European Institute for Molecular Imaging, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


Recently, integrated small-animal PET/MRI prototypes that provide isochronous and coregistered datasets of morphology and function through the simultaneous acquisition of PET and MRI data have been developed. However, the need for MRI compatibility can constrain the technical design of the PET components and may lead to a lower sensitivity and lower spatial and temporal resolutions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of a prototype preclinical PET/MRI system for the simultaneous assessment of cardiac metabolism and function in mice. A stand-alone high-resolution small-animal PET scanner using the same evaluation protocols was used as a reference.


Simultaneous PET/MR images of an infarct mouse model (21 animals plus 3 controls) were acquired. The imaging performance of the MRI-compatible PET insert was evaluated with respect to count sensitivity; myocardium-to-background contrast; suitability for the analysis of global left ventricular function; and uptake difference in scar, border-zone, and remote regions. The radiotracer (18)F-FDG was used to acquire cardiac gated PET data, applying retrospective coincidence sorting. The PET insert data were coregistered to the MR images by determination of the appropriate transformation matrix.


An optimal registration of PET and MR images from the integrated system was achieved, and the reconstructed images showed a good visual correspondence in infarct areas between PET and MRI data. As expected, the PET insert showed a poorer performance with respect to counting rate and myocardium-to-background ratio than did the high-resolution PET. Assessment of left ventricular volumes was possible with the current PET/MRI prototype. A good correlation was found between PET and MRI (R > 0.95). Local PET uptake was successfully determined for different tissue, and a differentiation among remote, border-zone, and scar tissue was possible. However, the uptake difference for the PET/MRI prototype was lower than that for the high-resolution stand-alone PET system.


A hybrid PET/MRI prototype was successfully used to assess cardiac parameters in an infarct mouse model, although performance was reduced when compared with a high-resolution animal PET scanner. Future technical improvements are expected to result in comparable performance while providing higher registration accuracy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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