Contrast enhanced susceptibility weighted imaging (CE-SWI) of the mouse brain using ultrasmall superparamagnetic ironoxide particles (USPIO)

Z Med Phys. 2006;16(4):269-74. doi: 10.1078/0939-3889-00325.


Susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) has been introduced as a novel approach to visualize the venous vasculature in the human brain. With SWI, small veins in the brain are depicted based on the susceptibility difference between deoxyhaemoglobin in the veins and surrounding tissue, which is further enhanced by the use of MR phase information. In this study we applied SWI in the mouse brain using an exogenous iron-based blood-pool contrast agent, with the aims of further enhancing the susceptibility effect and allowing the visualization of individual veins and arteries. Contrast enhanced (CE-) SWI of the brain was performed on healthy mice and mice carrying intracerebral glioma xenografts. This study demonstrates that detailed vascular information in the mouse brain can be obtained by using CE-SWI and is substantially enhanced compared to native SWI (i.e. without contrast agent). CE-SWI images of tumour-bearing mice were directly compared to histology, confirming that CE-SWI depicts the vessels supplying and draining the tumour. We propose that CE-SWI is a very promising tool for the characterization of tumour vasculature.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Contrast Media
  • Ferric Compounds
  • ferric oxide