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Sci Rep. 2015 May 18;5:10178. doi: 10.1038/srep10178.

Ultra High-Resolution In vivo Computed Tomography Imaging of Mouse Cerebrovasculature Using a Long Circulating Blood Pool Contrast Agent.

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1] Edward B. Singleton Department of Pediatric Radiology, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston TX [2] Department of Radiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX.
Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.


Abnormalities in the cerebrovascular system play a central role in many neurologic diseases. The on-going expansion of rodent models of human cerebrovascular diseases and the need to use these models to understand disease progression and treatment has amplified the need for reproducible non-invasive imaging methods for high-resolution visualization of the complete cerebral vasculature. In this study, we present methods for in vivo high-resolution (19 μm isotropic) computed tomography imaging of complete mouse brain vasculature. This technique enabled 3D visualization of large cerebrovascular networks, including the Circle of Willis. Blood vessels as small as 40 μm were clearly delineated. ACTA2 mutations in humans cause cerebrovascular defects, including abnormally straightened arteries and a moyamoya-like arteriopathy characterized by bilateral narrowing of the internal carotid artery and stenosis of many large arteries. In vivo imaging studies performed in a mouse model of Acta2 mutations demonstrated the utility of this method for studying vascular morphometric changes that are practically impossible to identify using current histological methods. Specifically, the technique demonstrated changes in the width of the Circle of Willis, straightening of cerebral arteries and arterial stenoses. We believe the use of imaging methods described here will contribute substantially to the study of rodent cerebrovasculature.

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