Visualization of mouse pancreas architecture using MR microscopy

Am J Pathol. 2011 Aug;179(2):610-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.04.007. Epub 2011 May 31.


Pancreatic diseases, which include diabetes, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer, are often difficult to detect and/or stage, contributing to a reduced quality of life and lifespan for patients. Thus, there is need for a technology that can visualize tissue changes in the pancreas, improve understanding of disease progression, and facilitate earlier detection in the human population. Because of low spatial resolution, current clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at low field strength has yet to fully visualize the exocrine, endocrine, vascular, and stromal components of the pancreas. We used high field strength magnetic resonance microscopy (μMRI) to image mouse pancreas ex vivo without contrast agents at high spatial resolution. We analyzed the resulting high-resolution images using volume rendering to resolve components in the pancreas, including acini, islets, blood vessels, and extracellular matrix. Locations and dimensions of pancreatic components as seen in three-dimensional μMRI were compared with histological images, and good correspondence was found. Future longitudinal studies could expand on the use of in vivo μMRI in mouse models of pancreatic diseases. Capturing three-dimensional structural changes through μMRI could help to identify early cellular and tissue changes associated with pancreatic disease, serving as a mode of improved detection in the clinic for endocrine and exocrine pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Contrast Media / pharmacology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • Contrast Media