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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27508. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027508. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Comparing the MRI appearance of the lymph nodes and spleen in wild-type and immuno-deficient mouse strains.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


The goal of this study was to investigate the normal MRI appearance of lymphoid organs in immuno-competent and immuno-deficient mice commonly used in research. Four mice from each of four different mouse strains (nude, NOG, C57BL/6, CB-17 SCID (SCID)) were imaged weekly for one month. Images were acquired with a 3D balanced steady state free precession (bSSFP) sequence. The volume of the lymph nodes and spleens were measured from MR images. In images of nude and SCID mice, lymph nodes sometimes contained a hyperintense region visible on MRI images. Volumes of the nodes were highly variable in nude mice. Nodes in SCID mice were smaller than in nude or C57Bl/6 mice (p<0.0001). Lymph node volumes changed slightly over time in all strains. The spleens of C57Bl/6 and nude mice were similar in size and appearance. Spleens of SCID and NOG mice were significantly smaller (p<0.0001) and abnormal in appearance. The MRI appearance of the normal lymph nodes and spleen varies considerably in the various mouse strains examined in this study. This is important to recognize in order to avoid the misinterpretation of MRI findings as abnormal when these strains are used in MRI imaging studies.

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