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Cardiovascular transgenic mouse models with an early phenotype or even premature death require noninvasive imaging methods that allow for accurate visualization of cardiac morphology and function. Thus the purpose of our study was to assess the feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize cardiac function and mass in newborn, juvenile, and adult mice. Forty-five C57bl/6 mice from seven age groups (3 days to 4 mo after birth) were studied by MRI under isoflurane anesthesia. Electrocardiogram-gated cine MRI was performed with an in-plane resolution of (78-117 microm)(2). Temporal resolution per cine frame was 8.6 ms. MRI revealed cardiac anatomy in mice from all age groups with high temporal and spatial resolution. There was close correlation between MRI- and autopsy-determined left ventricular (LV) mass (r = 0.95, SE of estimate = 9.5 mg). The increase of LV mass (range 9.6-101.3 mg), cardiac output (range 1.1-14.3 ml/min), and stroke volume (range 3. 2-40.2 microl) with age could be quantified by MRI measurements. Ejection fraction and cardiac index did not change with aging. However, LV mass index decreased with increasing age (P < 0.01). High-resolution MRI allows for accurate in vivo assessment of cardiac function in neonatal, juvenile, and adult mice. This method should be useful when applied in transgenic mouse models.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

Publication Date





H652 - H657


Aging, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Electrocardiography, Feasibility Studies, Follow-Up Studies, Heart, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Motion Pictures