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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28143. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028143. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

In vivo imaging of stepwise vessel occlusion in cerebral photothrombosis of mice by 19F MRI.

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Department of Neurology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.



(19)F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was recently introduced as a promising technique for in vivo cell tracking. In the present study we compared (19)F MRI with iron-enhanced MRI in mice with photothrombosis (PT) at 7 Tesla. PT represents a model of focal cerebral ischemia exhibiting acute vessel occlusion and delayed neuroinflammation.


Perfluorocarbons (PFC) or superparamagnetic iron oxide particles (SPIO) were injected intravenously at different time points after photothrombotic infarction. While administration of PFC directly after PT induction led to a strong (19)F signal throughout the entire lesion, two hours delayed application resulted in a rim-like (19)F signal at the outer edge of the lesion. These findings closely resembled the distribution of signal loss on T2-weighted MRI seen after SPIO injection reflecting intravascular accumulation of iron particles trapped in vessel thrombi as confirmed histologically. By sequential administration of two chemically shifted PFC compounds 0 and 2 hours after illumination the different spatial distribution of the (19)F markers (infarct core/rim) could be visualized in the same animal. When PFC were applied at day 6 the fluorine marker was only detected after long acquisition times ex vivo. SPIO-enhanced MRI showed slight signal loss in vivo which was much more prominent ex vivo indicative for neuroinflammation at this late lesion stage.


Our study shows that vessel occlusion can be followed in vivo by (19)F and SPIO-enhanced high-field MRI while in vivo imaging of neuroinflammation remains challenging. The timing of contrast agent application was the major determinant of the underlying processes depicted by both imaging techniques. Importantly, sequential application of different PFC compounds allowed depiction of ongoing vessel occlusion from the core to the margin of the ischemic lesions in a single MRI measurement.

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