Acute kidney injury of various origins shares a common link in the pathophysiological chain of events: imbalance between renal medullary oxygen delivery and oxygen demand. For in vivo assessment of kidney haemodynamics and oxygenation in animals, quantitative but invasive physiological methods are established. A very limited number of studies attempted to link these invasive methods with parametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the kidney. Moreover, the validity of parametric MRI (pMRI) as a surrogate marker for renal tissue perfusion and renal oxygenation has not been systematically examined yet. For this reason, we set out to combine invasive techniques and non-invasive MRI in an integrated hybrid setup (MR-PHYSIOL) with the ultimate goal to calibrate, monitor and interpret parametric MR and physiological parameters by means of standardized interventions. Here we present a first report on the current status of this multi-modality approach. For this purpose, we first highlight key characteristics of renal perfusion and oxygenation. Second, concepts for in vivo characterization of renal perfusion and oxygenation are surveyed together with the capabilities of MRI for probing blood oxygenation-dependent tissue stages. Practical concerns evoked by the use of strong magnetic fields in MRI and interferences between MRI and invasive physiological probes are discussed. Technical solutions that balance the needs of in vivo physiological measurements together with the constraints dictated by small bore MR scanners are presented. An early implementation of the integrated MR-PHYSIOL approach is demonstrated including brief interventions of hypoxia and hyperoxia.
Acta Physiologica © 2013 Scandinavian Physiological Society.