Objective: This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that blood O2 level-dependent magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD MRI) can detect changes in cortical proximal tubule (PT) and medullary thick ascending limb of Henle (TAL) oxygenation consequent to successive administration of furosemide and acetazolamide (Az). Assessment of PT and TAL function could be useful to monitor renal disease states in vivo. Therefore, the adjunct use of diuretics that inhibit Na reabsorption selectively in PT and TAL, Az and furosemide, respectively, may help discern tubular function by using BOLD MRI to detect changes in tissue oxygenation.
Material and methods: BOLD MRI signal R2* (inversely related to oxygenation) and tissue oxygenation with intrarenal O2 probes were measured in pigs that received either furosemide (0.05 mg/kg) or Az (15 mg/kg) alone, Az sequentially after furosemide (n = 6 each, 15-minute intervals), or only saline vehicle (n = 3).
Results: R2* decreased in the cortex of Az-treated and medulla of furosemide-treated kidneys, corresponding to an increase in their tissue O2 assessed with probes. However, BOLD MRI also showed decreased cortical R2* following furosemide that was additive to the Az-induced decrease. Az administration, both alone and after furosemide, also decreased renal blood flow (-26% ± 3.5% and -29.2% ± 3%, respectively, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: These results suggest that an increase in medullary and cortical tissue O2 elicited by selective diuretics is detectable by BOLD MRI, but may be complicated by hemodynamic effects of the drugs. Therefore, the BOLD MRI signal may reflect functional changes additional to oxygenation, and needs to be interpreted cautiously.