Muscle architecture is the main determinant of the mechanical behavior of skeletal muscles. This study explored the feasibility of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and fiber tracking to noninvasively determine the in vivo three-dimensional (3D) architecture of skeletal muscle in mouse hind leg. In six mice, the hindlimb was imaged with a diffusion-weighted (DW) 3D fast spin-echo (FSE) sequence followed by the acquisition of an exercise-induced, T2-enhanced data set. The data showed the expected fiber organization, from which the physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), fiber length, and pennation angle for the tibialis anterior (TA) were obtained. The values of these parameters ranged from 5.4-9.1 mm2, 5.8-7.8 mm, and 21-24°, respectively, which is in agreement with values obtained previously with the use of invasive methods. This study shows that 3D DT acquisition and fiber tracking is feasible for the skeletal muscle of mice, and thus enables the quantitative determination of muscle architecture.
Heemskerk, A. M., Strijkers, G. J., Vilanova, A., Drost, M. R., & Nicolaij, K. (2005). Determination of mouse skeletal muscle architecture using three dimensional diffusion tensor imaging. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 53(6), 1333-1340. https://doi.org/10.1002/mrm.20476