Application of a novel in vivo imaging approach to measure pulmonary vascular responses in mice

Physiol Rep. 2018 Sep;6(19):e13875. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13875.


Noninvasive imaging of the murine pulmonary vasculature is challenging due to the small size of the animal, limits of resolution of the imaging technology, terminal nature of the procedure, or the need for intravenous contrast. We report the application of laboratory-based high-speed, high-resolution x-ray imaging, and image analysis to detect quantitative changes in the pulmonary vascular tree over time in the same animal without the need for intravenous contrast. Using this approach, we detected an increased number of vessels in the pulmonary vascular tree of animals after 30 min of recovery from a brief exposure to inspired gas with 10% oxygen plus 5% carbon dioxide (mean ± standard deviation: 2193 ± 382 at baseline vs. 6177 ± 1171 at 30 min of recovery; P < 0.0001). In a separate set of animals, we showed that the total pulmonary blood volume increased (P = 0.0412) while median vascular diameter decreased from 0.20 mm (IQR: 0.15-0.28 mm) to 0.18 mm (IQR: 0.14-0.26 mm; P = 0.0436) over the respiratory cycle from end-expiration to end-inspiration. These findings suggest that the noninvasive, nonintravenous contrast imaging approach reported here can detect dynamic responses of the murine pulmonary vasculature and may be a useful tool in studying these responses in models of disease.

Keywords: 4DCT; in vivo imaging; micro-CT; pulmonary vasculature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pulmonary Circulation* / physiology
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*