Characterization of aortic root atherosclerosis in ApoE knockout mice: high-resolution in vivo and ex vivo MRM with histological correlation.
Itskovich VV., Choudhury RP., Aguinaldo JGS., Fallon JT., Omerhodzic S., Fisher EA., Fayad ZA.
In vivo, cardiac-gated, black-blood, and ex vivo magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) images of the aortic root, and histopathology data were obtained from 12 transgenic and wild-type (WT) mice. MRM was performed using a black-blood imaging spin-echo sequence with upstream and downstream in-flow saturation pulses to obtain aortic root images in three contrast techniques: proton density-weighted (PDW), T(1)- (T(1)W), and T(2)-weighted (T(2)W). Aortic wall thickness and area were measured and correlated with histopathology data (R > 0.90). Ex vivo lesion components (lipid core, fibrous tissue, and cell tissue) were identified and characterized by differing image contrast in PDW, T(1)W, and T(2)W MRM, and by histopathology. The differences between WT and transgenic mice for maximal wall thickness and area were statistically significant (P < 0.05). This study demonstrates the feasibility of in vivo murine aortic root lesion assessment and ex vivo plaque characterization by MRM.