Welcome at the MR website of our department!
 
Our laboratory is equipped with a 400 MHz Bruker AVANCEIII Widebore NMR Spectrometer (→ hardware), which we employ to noninvasively investigate organs (heart, vessels, brain, etc.) of mice and small rats by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, → theory).

While the magnetic field strength of a clinical MRI unit is typically 1.5 Tesla, the corresponding value of the research unit at our disposal is 9.4 Tesla. As illustrated below, with this setup dynamic, high resolution images of the mouse heart can be recorded revealing the morphology of this small organ in detail. This allows us the determination of wall thickness, shape of the heart, ventricular volumes, and myocardial mass in three-dimensional form routinely (→ heart). The comparison of systole and diastole yields additionally the pumpage of the heart as functional parameter.

 
MR CineFLASH movies of a mouse heart
Field of view 3x3 cm2, in plane resolution 117x117 µm2, slice thickness 1 mm, acquisition time 1 min
 
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Axial slice
Coronal slice

 
Because of the high water (H2O) content (~75%) within the body the multiplicity of MRI applications focuses on the detection of hydrogen (1H) nuclei (→ theory). However, one should clearly keep in mind that also via the somewhat exotic appearing X-nuclei (such as 13C, 19F, and 31P), information can be obtained which by other means would be difficult to access.

With this strong magnet, thus, not only anatomical images of the inside of the body can be acquired, but by dedicated techniques also foci of inflammation or special proteins like myoglobin, small molecular compounds like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and glucose, respectively, or even ions in individual organs, such as the heart, can be determined without radiation exposure (→ theory). The latter is the big advantage of all MR-related methods both MRI and the so-called NMR spectroscopy (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance): the measurements can be carried out noninvasively at the living animal or at isolated organs, if required in a repetitive manner. Thereby, important issues of cardiac metabolism in the context of infarction or heart insufficiency can be addressed, in particular the high energy phosphates as well as oxygen supply, pH regulation and ion or body lipid homeostasis. In order to get a more detailed insight into the different subject areas we worked about within the last years, feel free to check the listing of our peer-reviewed publications.

Requests regarding scientific cooperations or MD and PhD theses, respectively, are welcome at any time! For the latter you can usually join us immediately for collaboration in several different exciting projects.

 


 
Some general remarks

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In general we do no object, if movies, images or text elements of this site are reused by others – in contrast, it would give us great pleasure; it would give us, howver, yet another big pleasure, if the source of information will be quoted.


 
Authors: Ulrich Flögel & Christoph Jacoby
Thanks to: Sandra Burghoff, Helen Hermes

Last update: 18.11.2016