The cardiac muscle architecture lies at the basis of the mechanical and electrical properties of the heart, and dynamic alterations in fiber structure are known to be of prime importance in healing and remodeling after myocardial infarction. In this study, left ventricular remodeling was characterized using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in a mouse model of myocardial infarction. Myocardial infarction was induced in mice by permanent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Serial ex vivo DTI measurements were performed 7, 14, 28, and 60 days after ligation. Apparent diffusion coefficient, fractional anisotropy, the three eigenvalues of the diffusion tensor, and the myofiber disarray served as readout parameters. After myocardial infarction, the mouse hearts displayed extreme wall thinning in the infarcted area, which covered large parts of the apex and extended into the free wall up to the equator. Average heart mass increased by 70% 7-60 days after infarction. Histological analysis showed that the infarct at 7 days consisted of unstructured tissue with residual necrosis and infiltration of macrophages and myofibroblasts. At 14 days after infarction, the necrotic tissue had disappeared and collagen fibers were starting to appear. From 28 to 60 days, the infarct had fully developed into a mature scar. DTI parameters showed dynamic changes as a function of time after infarction. The apparent diffusion coefficient in the infarcted region was lower than in remote regions and increased as a function of time after infarction. The fractional anisotropy was higher in the infarcted region and was maximum at 28 days, which was attributed to the development of structured collagen fibers. Myofiber disarray, which was analyzed by considering the alignment of fibers in neighboring voxels, was significantly higher in infarcted regions. DTI provides a valuable non-destructive tool for characterizing structural remodeling in diseased myocardium.
Strijkers, G. J., Bouts, A., Blankesteijn, W. M., Peeters, T. H. J. M., Vilanova, A., Prooijen, van, M. C., ... Nicolay, K. (2008). Diffusion tensor imaging of left ventricular remodeling in response to myocardial infarction in the mouse. NMR in Biomedicine, 22(2), 182-190. https://doi.org/10.1002/nbm.1299