Lund University Bioimaging Center

Faculty of Medicine | Lund University


Preclinical MR - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)

MRI creates detailed anatomical/morphological images of the soft tissues of the body such as brain, heart, muscles, tendons,and liver. MRI can also give functional information, e.g. regarding cerebral blood flow. In addition, MRS may provide biochemical information about the tissues, allowing studies of metabolic changes in distribution and concentration to be performed.

The ability to perform first-class high resolution MRI and MRS research both in vivo and ex vivo is provided by two well-equipped machines, one 9.4T (horizontal bore) and one 11.7T (vertical bore).

mri mrs

There are a number of measurement parameters that affect signal intensity and, subsequently, image contrast in MRI. This means that the operator can manipulate image contrast, giving superior soft tissue differentiation. Contrast agents may be injected intravenously to enhance the appearance of blood vessels, tumors or inflammation. The MR equipment can be tuned to pick up signals from different chemical nuclei within the body/sample. The most common nuclei to be studied are hydrogen (present in fat and water in the body), phosphorus, carbon, sodium and fluorine. (See Basic principles for a more detailed description.)

9 4t mouse brain angiography
9.4T mouse brain angiography
mri mrs figure bright
Figure. MR images and 1H-spectrum of a rat brain obtained at 9.4T. The spectrum originates from the region of interest indicated in the two images. The images demonstrate how MRI can reveal the anatomy of a whole or parts of an object. It is a noninvasive method, meaning that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body. The properties of the imaged material and the time spent on acquisition is most often the limiting factors for the resolution. A rough image may be obtained within a few seconds. The horizontal axis of the spectrum is MR frequency (or chemical shift in parts per million, p.p.m., relative to a reference chemical at 0 p.p.m.) and the vertical axis is signal strength (in arbitrary units). Each biochemical, or metabolite, has a different peak pattern with peaks appearing at known frequencies. MRS allows biochemical information about the patient/sample to be obtained in a non-invasive way. It can provide clinical information which can be helpful in diagnosis and treatment of disease and is currently used to investigate a number of diseases, most notably cancer (in brain, breast and prostate), epilepsy, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's Chorea.

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