Molecular magnetic resonance imaging of pulmonary fibrosis in mice

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Dec;49(6):1120-6. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2013-0039OC.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic, progressive, fibrosing interstitial pneumonia of unknown cause resulting in dyspnea and functional decline until death. There are currently no effective noninvasive tools to monitor disease progression and response to treatment. The objective of the present study was to determine whether molecular magnetic resonance imaging of the lung using a probe targeted to type I collagen could provide a direct, noninvasive method for assessment of pulmonary fibrosis in a mouse model. Pulmonary fibrosis was generated in mice by transtracheal instillation of bleomycin (BM). Six cohorts were imaged before and immediately after intravenous administration of molecular imaging probe: (1) BM plus collagen-targeted probe, EP-3533; (2) sham plus EP-3533; (3) BM plus nonbinding control probe, EP-3612; (4) sham plus EP-3612; (5) BM plus EP-3533 imaged early; and (6) BM plus EP-3533 imaged late. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) enhancement was quantified in the lungs and muscle. Lung tissue was subjected to pathologic scoring of fibrosis and analyzed for gadolinium and hydroxyproline. BM-treated mice had 35% higher lung collagen than sham mice (P < 0.0001). The SNR increase in the lungs of fibrotic mice after EP-3533 administration was twofold higher than in sham animals and twofold higher than in fibrotic or sham mice that received control probe, EP-3612 (P < 0.0001). The SNR increase in muscle was similar for all cohorts. For EP-3533, we observed a strong, positive, linear correlation between lung SNR increase and hydroxyproline levels (r = 0.72). Collagen-targeted probe EP-3533-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging specifically detects pulmonary fibrosis in a mouse model of disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bleomycin / toxicity
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Molecular Probe Techniques
  • Molecular Probes / administration & dosage
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism*


  • Molecular Probes
  • Bleomycin
  • Collagen