Magnetic resonance colonography in rats with TNBS-induced colitis: A feasibility and validation study

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Background:Magnetic resonance colonography (MRC) has been recently developed to assess bowel inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Evaluating animal models of inflammation with MRC may be important in new drug-screening processes. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of MRC in colitic rats and confront it with model characteristics.Methods:Colitis was induced by rectal injection of trinitrobenzene-sulfonic acid (TNBS) in 13 rats while six rats received the vehicle. MRC was performed at day 2. Colon inflammation and production of inflammatory mediators were evaluated. Image quality was assessed by wall and motion artifacts. MRC criteria were bowel wall thickness, wall signal intensity on T2-weighted (T2w) and T1w images, the appearance of a target sign pattern, and irregular patterns of mucosal surface.Results:MRC quality was good or excellent in 16/21 examinations with no difference between groups. Colitis rats were significantly different from controls in terms of wall thickness (P = 0.004), the appearance of a target sign pattern (P = 0.02), irregular patterns of mucosal surface (P = 0.01), and hyperintensity on T1w images (P = 0.03). All MRC criteria except maximal bowel wall thickness were associated with colon weight:length ratio and inflammatory biomarkers (all P < 0.05). Minimal bowel wall thickness and wall signal intensity on T2w images were associated with histological score (P < 0.05).Conclusions:MRC is feasible and reliable in rats with TNBS-induced colitis. MRC criteria including colon wall thickness, wall signal intensity on T2w images, hyperintensity in T1w sequence, and the appearance of a target sign pattern may be potential targets for new IBD drugs. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012)

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