Imaging of murine brain tumors using a 1.5 Tesla clinical MRI system

Can J Neurol Sci. 2003 Nov;30(4):326-32. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100003036.


Background: In this study, we investigated the feasibility of using a 1.5 Tesla (T) clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system for in vivo assessment of three histopathologically different brain tumor models in mice.

Methods: We selected mouse models in which tumor growth was observed in different intracranial compartments: Patched+/- heterozygous knock-out mice for tumor growth in the cerebellum (n = 5); U87 MG human astrocytoma cells xenografted to the frontal lobe of athymic mice (n = 15); and F5 (n = 15) or IOMM Lee (n = 15) human malignant meningioma cells xenotransplanted to the athymic mouse skull base or convexity. Mice were imaged using a small receiver surface coil and a clinical 1.5 T MRI system. T1- and fast spin echo T2-weighted image sequences were obtained in all animals. Gadolinium was injected via tail vein to better delineate the intracranial tumors. Twenty mice were followed by serial MRI to study tumor growth over time. In these mice, images were typically performed after tumor implantation, and at two week intervals. Mice were euthanized following their last imaging procedure, and their tumors were examined by histopathology. The histopathological preparations were then compared to the last MR images to correlate the imaging features with the pathology.

Results: Magnetic resonance imaging delineated th tumors in the cerebellum, frontal lobes and skull base in all mouse models. The detection of intracranial tumors was enhanced with prio administration of gadolinium, and the limit of resolution of brain tumors in the mice was 1-2 mm3. Sequential images performed at different time intervals showed progressive tumor growth in all animals. The MR images of tumor size and location correlated accurately with th results of the histopathological analysis.

Conclusion: Magnetic resonance imaging of murine brain tumors in different intracrania compartments is feasible with a 1.5 T clinical MR system and a specially designed surface coil. Tumors as small as 1-2 mm3 can be detecte with good image resolution. Mice harbouring nascent brain tumors can be followed sequentially by serial MR imaging. This may allow for a noninvasive means by which tumor growth can be measured, and novel therapies tested without resorting to sacrifice of the mice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / instrumentation
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude