Mouse models are increasingly used to study the pathophysiology of myocardial infarction in vivo. In this area, MRI has become the gold standard imaging modality, because it combines high spatial and temporal resolution functional imaging with a large variety of methods to generate soft tissue contrast. In addition, (target-specific) MRI contrast agents can be employed to visualize different processes in the cascade of events following myocardial infarction. Here, the MRI sequence has a decisive role in the detection sensitivity of a contrast agent. However, a straightforward translation of clinically available protocols for human cardiac imaging to mice is not feasible, because of the small size of the mouse heart and its extremely high heart rate. This has stimulated intense research in the development of cardiac MRI protocols specifically tuned to the mouse with regard to timing parameters, acquisition strategies, and ECG- and respiratory-triggering methods to find an optimal trade-off between sensitivity, scan time, and image quality. In this review, a detailed analysis is given of the pros and cons of different mouse cardiac MR imaging methodologies and their application in contrast-enhanced MRI of myocardial infarction.
Coolen, B. F., Paulis, L. E. M., Geelen, T., Nicolay, K., & Strijkers, G. J. (2012). Contrast-enhanced MRI of murine myocardial infarction - Part II. NMR in Biomedicine, 25(8), 969-984. https://doi.org/10.1002/nbm.2767