The salamander axolotl is capable of complete regeneration of amputated heart tissue. However, non-invasive imaging tools for assessing its cardiac function were so far not employed. In this study, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is introduced as a noninvasive technique to image heart function of axolotls. Three axolotls were imaged with magnetic resonance imaging using a retrospectively gated Fast Low Angle Shot cine sequence. Within one scanning session the axolotl heart was imaged three times in all planes, consecutively. Heart rate, ejection fraction, stroke volume and cardiac output were calculated using three techniques: (1) combined long-axis, (2) short-axis series, and (3) ultrasound (control for heart rate only). All values are presented as mean ± standard deviation. Heart rate (beats per minute) among different animals was 32.2±6.0 (long axis), 30.4±5.5 (short axis) and 32.7±4.9 (ultrasound) and statistically similar regardless of the imaging method (p > 0.05). Ejection fraction (%) was 59.6±10.8 (long axis) and 48.1±11.3 (short axis) and it differed significantly (p = 0.019). Stroke volume (μl/beat) was 133.7±33.7 (long axis) and 93.2±31.2 (short axis), also differed significantly (p = 0.015). Calculations were consistent among the animals and over three repeated measurements. The heart rate varied depending on depth of anaesthesia. We described a new method for defining and imaging the anatomical planes of the axolotl heart and propose one of our techniques (long axis analysis) may prove useful in defining cardiac function in regenerating axolotl hearts.
- Ambystoma mexicanum/physiology
- Heart/diagnostic imaging
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods