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Third-party-funded project

Functional NMR imaging of the mouse heart

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

The animal model of the mouse is gaining increasing popularity in basic cardiovascular research. This is due to its well characterized genome and the ability to perform distinct genetic manipulations, such as gene-overexpression, -mutation and -ablation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is uniquely suited to face the requirements of the small sized and rapidly beating mouse heart. It offers high temporal and spatial resolution and proved high accuracy and reproducibility in volumetric quantifications. This allows for precise quantification of left ventricular (LV) volumes and mass, assessment of global and regional wall motion (by cine imaging and MR tagging, respectively), measurement of myocardial perfusion and regional blood volume (by T1-mapping), assessment of flow and tissues velocities (by phase-contrast MRI) as well as detailed visualization of cardiac morphology (time-of-flight gradient echo methods). At present, there is a variety of transgenic or gene-targeted mouse models within the SFB 355, that allows for investigation of underlying pathomechanisms of heart failure:
1) Creatinkinase-Knockout,
2) a2-Receptor-Knockout
3) b1-Receptor-Overexpression.
Main objectives of this project is the development and optimization of the MR techniques described above for the distinct requirements of the mouse model. This includes optimization and re-programming of pulse and gradient sequences as well as development of dedicated hardware components such as radio-frequency coils.
Applying these hardware and MR sequence developments to the mouse heart, morphological and functional changes during acute stimulation (e.g. dobutamine stress) or chronic stress (myocardial infarction after LAD ligation, LV pressure hypertrophy due to aortic banding) can be studied non-invasively. Further, changes in myocardial regional blood volume and perfusion as well as blood flow in the greater vessels can be quantified. Monitoring of the exact time course of geometric and functional changes by repeated MR studies in individual animals should give further insights in the pathomechanism of chronic heart failure.

Key words:
    cardiac function

Projekt period: from 01.1999 to 12.2001

Funding institution:
DFG ,Granting date: 02.12.1998


Institute of Physics, Experimental Physics 5, University of Würzburg
University Hospital Würzburg