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Lab Anim. 2012 Oct;46(4):311-7. doi: 10.1258/la.2012.011139.

A novel intubation technique for minimally invasive longitudinal studies of rat lungs using hyperpolarized 3He magnetic resonance imaging.

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Physics and Astronomy Department, University of Western Ontario, PAB 138C, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada.


Hyperpolarized noble gas (HNG) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to be useful for studying rodent models of lung disease. Image quality can be substantially degraded by signal loss from molecular oxygen entering the airway, requiring invasive surgery to ensure a good seal between the endotracheal (ET) tube and trachea. A modified Foley catheter having an inflatable cuff near the tip provides a novel approach for ensuring image quality for HNG MRI, thereby enabling longitudinal studies and reducing animal numbers. A Foley catheter was modified for rodent intubation and to minimize dead space. Three pairs of age-matched male Sprague Dawley rats 400 (30) g were used. Two pairs were intubated using the Foley and the third with an intravenous catheter. Leak rates were measured from pressure versus time curves within each animal. The pairs were euthanized immediately or six days postrecovery to assess the effects of the procedure on animal health, as reflected by histological examination. The Foley catheter resulted in minimal leak rates (-0.20 (0.03) versus -0.16 (0.05) cmH(2)O/s), and were shown to be well below upper-limit leak rates of -0.5 and -0.7 cmH(2)O/s. Tracheal samples from rats in a separate Foley group (not mechanically ventilated) showed superficial damage six days postextubation (grade = 0). (3)He imaging performed using the Foley showed good image quality. Though some technical issues remain to be solved, a modified Foley catheter used as an ET tube offers the potential to enable longitudinal studies in rodents and reduce animal numbers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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