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    Abstract: Small bowel motility analyses using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could reduce current invasive techniques in animal studies and comply with the 'three Rs' rule for human animal experimentation. Thus we investigated the feasibility of in vivo small bowel motility analyses in mice using dynamic MRI acquisitions. All experimental procedures were approved by the institutional animal care committee. Six C57BL/6 mice underwent MRI without additional preparation after isoflurane anaesthetization in the prone position on a 4.7 T small animal imager equipped with a linear polarized hydrogen birdcage whole-body mouse coil. Motility was assessed using a true fast imaging in a steady precession sequence in the coronal orientation (acquisition time per slice 512 ms, in-plane resolution 234 x 234 microm, matrix size 128 x 128, slice thickness 1 mm) over 30 s corresponding to 60 acquisitions. Motility was manually assessed measuring the small bowel diameter change over time. The resulting motility curves were analysed for the following parameters: contraction frequency per minute (cpm), maximal contraction amplitude (maximum to minimum [mm]), luminal diameter (mm) and luminal occlusion rate. Small bowel motility quantification was found to be possible in all animals with a mean small bowel contraction frequency of 10.67 cpm (SD +/- 3.84), a mean amplitude of the contractions of 1.33 mm (SD +/- 0.43) and a mean luminal diameter of 1.37 mm (SD +/- 0.42). The mean luminal occlusion rate was 1.044 (SD +/- 0.45%/100). The mean duration needed for a single motility assessment was 185 s (SD +/- 54.02). Thus our study demonstrated the feasibility of an easy and time-sparing functional assessment for in vivo small bowel motility analyses in mice. This could improve the development of small animal models of intestinal diseases and provide a method similar to clinical MR examinations that is in concordance with the 'three Rs' for humane animal experimentation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25266965
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