Magnetic Resonance Histology of Age-Related Nephropathy in the Sprague Dawley Rat


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Abstract

Magnetic resonance histology (MRH) has become a valuable tool in evaluating drug-induced toxicity in preclinical models. However, its application in renal injury has been limited. This study tested the hypothesis that MRH could detect image-based biomarkers of chronic disease, inflammation, or age-related degeneration in the kidney, laying the foundation for more extensive use in evaluating drug toxicity. We examined the entire intact kidney in a spontaneous model of chronic progressive nephropathy. Kidneys from male Sprague Dawley rats were imaged at 8 weeks (n = 4) and 52 weeks (n =4) on a 9.4 T system dedicated to MR microscopy. Several potential contrast mechanisms were explored to optimize the scanning protocols. Full coverage of the entire kidney was achieved with isotropic spatial resolution at 31 microns (voxel volume = 30 pL) using a gradient recalled echo sequence. Isotropic spatial resolution of 15 microns (voxel volume < 4 pL) was achieved in a biopsy core specimen. Qualitative age-related structural changes, such as renal cortical microvasculature, tubular dilation, interstitial fibrosis, and glomerular architecture, were apparent. The nondestructive 3D images allowed measurement of quantitative differences of kidney volume, pelvis volume, main vessel volume, glomerular size, as well as thickness of the cortex, outer medulla, and inner medulla.

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