High resolution 3D MRI of mouse mammary glands with intra-ductal injection of contrast media

Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Jan;33(1):161-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2014.08.035. Epub 2014 Aug 29.


The purpose of this study was to use high resolution three-dimensional (3D) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study mouse mammary gland ductal architecture based on intra-ductal injection of contrast agents. Female FVB/N mice age 12-20 weeks (n=12), were used in this study. A 34G, 45° tip Hamilton needle with a 25μL Hamilton syringe was inserted into the tip of the nipple. Approximately 20-25μL of a Gadodiamide/Trypan blue/saline solution was injected slowly over one minute into the nipple and duct. To prevent washout of contrast media from ducts due to perfusion, and maximize the conspicuity of ducts on MRI, mice were sacrificed one minute after injection. High resolution 3D T1-weighted images were acquired on a 9.4T Bruker scanner after sacrifice to eliminate motion artifacts and reduce contrast media leakage from ducts. Trypan blue staining was well distributed throughout the ductal tree. MRI showed the mammary gland ductal structure clearly. In spoiled gradient echo T1-weighted images, the signal-to-noise ratio of regions identified as enhancing mammary ducts following contrast injection was significantly higher than that of muscle (p<0.02) and significantly higher than that of contralateral mammary ducts that were not injected with contrast media (p<0.0001). The methods described here could be adapted for injection of specialized contrast agents to measure metabolism or target receptors in normal ducts and ducts with in situ cancers.

Keywords: 3D MRI; Contrast agent; Ductal injection; Mouse mammary gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA / chemistry
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Injections
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mammary Glands, Animal
  • Mice
  • Perfusion
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio


  • Contrast Media
  • gadodiamide
  • Gadolinium DTPA