Techniques: Magnetic resonance imaging of the lung provides potential for non-invasive preclinical evaluation of drugs

Discovery Technologies Center, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Lichtstrasse 35, WSJ-386.2.09, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences (Impact Factor: 11.54). 11/2003; 24(10):550-4. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed


Over the past several years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an established tool in the drug discovery and development process. The main advantages of MRI are its high resolution, non-invasiveness and versatility, which allow comprehensive characterization of a disease state and the effects of drug intervention. Recent advances now allow the application of this technique to the characterization of models of lung inflammation in rats and to the profiling of anti-inflammatory drugs. Repeated measurements can be carried out on the same animal, and time-courses of events can be easily assessed. Furthermore, the prospect of using MRI to detect non-invasively a sustained mucus hypersecretory phenotype induced by endotoxin brings an important new perspective to models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in animals. Importantly, it might be possible to extend the use of this technique to the clinical study of inflammation in the lung and the consequences of drug treatment.

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    • "In the last few years, small animal imaging has become an increasingly important research tool for studying disease models (Schuster et al., 2004) and for preclinical testing (Beckmann et al., 2003). This increase in popularity of small animal imaging has been fostered partly by the ready availability of commercial imaging systems and the demonstration of the value of in vivo, nondestructive, and longitudinal monitoring capability of these imaging systems. "
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    ABSTRACT: In vivo magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) of the small animal lung has become a valuable research tool, especially for preclinical studies. MRM offers a noninvasive and nondestructive tool for imaging small animals longitudinally and at high spatial resolution. We summarize some of the technical and biologic problems and solutions associated with imaging the small animal lung and describe several important pulmonary disease applications. A major advantage of MR is direct imaging of the gas spaces of the lung using breathable gases such as helium and xenon. When polarized, these gases become rich MR signal sources. In animals breathing hyperpolarized helium, the dynamics of gas distribution can be followed and airway constrictions and obstructions can be detected. Diffusion coefficients of helium can be calculated from diffusion-sensitive images, which can reveal micro-structural changes in the lungs associated with pathologies such as emphysema and fibrosis. Unlike helium, xenon in the lung is absorbed by blood and exhibits different frequencies in gas, tissue, or erythrocytes. Thus, with MR imaging, the movement of xenon gas can be tracked through pulmonary compartments to detect defects of gas transfer. MRM has become a valuable tool for studying morphologic and functional changes in small animal models of lung diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · Toxicologic Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Imaging technologies are presently receiving considerable attention in the pharmaceutical area owing to their potential to accelerate the drug discovery and development process. One of the principal imaging modalities is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The multiparametric nature of MRI enables anatomical, functional and even molecular information to be obtained non-invasively from intact organisms at high spatial resolution, thereby enabling a comprehensive characterization of a disease state and the corresponding drug intervention. The non-invasiveness of MRI strengthens the link between pre-clinical and clinical drug studies, making the technique attractive for pharmaceutical research.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2004 · Drug Discovery Today
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