Noninvasive measurement of renal blood flow by magnetic resonance imaging in rats

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American journal of physiology. Renal physiology


Renal blood flow (RBF) provides important information regarding renal physiology and nephropathies. Arterial spin labeling-magnetic resonance imaging (ASL-MRI) is a noninvasive method of measuring blood flow without exogenous contrast media. However, low signal-to-noise ratio and respiratory motion artifacts are challenges for RBF measurements in small animals. Our objective was to evaluate the feasibility and reproducibility of RBF measurements by ASL-MRI using respiratory-gating and navigator correction methods to reduce motion artifacts. ASL-MRI images were obtained from the kidneys of Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats on a 7-Tesla Varian MRI system with a spin-echo imaging sequence. After 4 days, the study was repeated to evaluate its reproducibility. RBF was also measured in animals under unilateral nephrectomy and in renal artery stenosis (RST) to evaluate the sensitivity in high and low RBF models, respectively. RBF was also evaluated in Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rats and spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR). In SD rats, the cortical RBFs (cRBF) were 305 ± 59 and 271.8 ± 39 ml·min-1·100 g tissue-1 in the right and left kidneys, respectively. Retest analysis revealed no differences ( P = 0.2). The test-retest reliability coefficient was 92 ± 5%. The cRBFs before and after the nephrectomy were 296.8 ± 30 and 428.2 ± 45 ml·min-1·100 g tissue-1 ( P = 0.02), respectively. The kidneys with RST exhibited a cRBF decrease compared with sham animals (86 ± 17.6 vs. 198 ± 33.7 ml·min-1·100 g tissue-1; P < 0.01). The cRBFs in SD, Dahl-SS, and SHR rats were not different ( P = 0.35). We conclude that ASL-MRI performed with navigator correction and respiratory gating is a feasible and reliable noninvasive method for measuring RBF in rats.

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Contrast Media; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Kidney; Kidney Diseases; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Renal Artery; Renal Circulation; Spin Labels

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