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Theranostics. 2017 Jan 1;7(2):285-294. doi: 10.7150/thno.16282. eCollection 2017.

Visualization, Quantification and Characterization of Caerulein-Induced Acute Pancreatitis in Rats by 3.0T Clinical MRI, Biochemistry and Histomorphology.

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Department of Imaging & Pathology, Biomedical Sciences Group, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Purpose: To investigate whether Caerulein-induced acute pancreatitis (AP) in rats could be noninvasively studied by clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and validated by enzymatic biochemistry and histomorphology. Materials and Methods: The study was approved by the institutional animal ethical committee. The AP was induced in 26 rats by intraperitoneal injections of Caerulein, as compared to 6 normal rats. T2-weighted 3D MRI, T2 relaxation measurement and contrast enhanced T1-weighted MRI were performed at 3 Tesla. Pancreatic volume and contrast ratio of pancreas against surrounding tissues were measured by MRI. Animals were scarified at 3, 8, 24 and 48-hr respectively for analyses of serum lipase and amylase levels, and biliopancreatic perfusion-assisted histomorphology. Results: The AP could be observed on MRI 3-hr onwards after Caerulein-administration. T2 relaxation within the pancreas was prolonged due to high water content or edema. Increase of vascular permeability was indicated by T1 contrast enhancement. Both edema and vascular permeability gradually recovered afterwards (p<0.05/0.01), paralleled by declining serum enzyme levels (p<0.05). Microscopy revealed cell vacuolization and edema for early stage, and increased inflammatory cell infiltration and acinar cell loss after 24 and 48-hr. Conclusion: Multiparametric MRI techniques at 3.0T could facilitate noninvasive diagnosis and characterization of Caerulein induced AP in rats, as validated by a novel ex vivo method.


Caerulein; MR cholangiopancreatography; acute pancreatitis; rats.

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