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Radiology and Medical Imaging

Functional and Morphological Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Mice Using a Cryogenic Quadrature Radiofrequency Coil
Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Author: Babette Wagenhaus et al.

by Babette Wagenhaus, Andreas Pohlmann, Matthias Alexander Dieringer, Antje Els, Helmar Waiczies, Sonia Waiczies, Jeanette Schulz-Menger, Thoralf Niendorf

Cardiac morphology and function assessment by magnetic resonance imaging is of increasing interest for a variety of mouse models in pre-clinical cardiac research, such as myocardial infarction models or myocardial injury/remodeling in genetically or pharmacologically induced hypertension. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) constraints, however, limit image quality and blood myocardium delineation, which crucially depend on high spatial resolution. Significant gains in SNR with a cryogenically cooled RF probe have been shown for mouse brain MRI, yet the potential of applying cryogenic RF coils for cardiac MR (CMR) in mice is, as of yet, untapped. This study examines the feasibility and potential benefits of CMR in mice employing a 400 MHz cryogenic RF surface coil, compared with a conventional mouse heart coil array operating at room temperature. The cryogenic RF coil affords SNR gains of 3.0 to 5.0 versus the conventional approach and hence enables an enhanced spatial resolution. This markedly improved image quality – by better deliniation of myocardial borders and enhanced depiction of papillary muscles and trabeculae – and facilitated a more accurate cardiac chamber quantification, due to reduced intraobserver variability. In summary the use of a cryogenically cooled RF probe represents a valuable means of enhancing the capabilities of CMR of mice.