Development and feasibility of quantitative dynamic cardiac imaging for mice using μSPECT

J Nucl Cardiol. 2020 Mar 4;10.1007/s12350-020-02082-8. doi: 10.1007/s12350-020-02082-8. Online ahead of print.


Background: Despite growing interest in coronary microvascular disease (CMVD), there is a dearth of mechanistic understanding. Mouse models offer opportunities to understand molecular processes in CMVD. We have sought to develop quantitative mouse imaging to assess coronary microvascular function.

Methods: We used 99mTc-sestamibi to measure myocardial blood flow in mice with MILabs U-SPECT+ system. We determined recovery and crosstalk coefficients, the influx rate constant from blood to myocardium (K1), and, using microsphere perfusion, constraints on the extraction fraction curve. We used 99mTc and stannous pyrophosphate for red blood cell imaging to measure intramyocardial blood volume (IMBV) as an alternate measure of microvascular function.

Results: The recovery coefficients for myocardial tissue (RT) and left ventricular arterial blood (RA) were 0.81 ± 0.16 and 1.07 ± 0.12, respectively. The assumption RT = 1 - FBV (fraction blood volume) does not hold in mice. Using a complete mixing matrix to fit a one-compartment model, we measured K1 of 0.57 ± 0.08 min-1. Constraints on the extraction fraction curve for 99mTc-sestamibi in mice for best-fit Renkin-Crone parameters were α = 0.99 and β = 0.39. Additionally, we found that wild-type mice increase their IMBV by 22.9 ± 3.3% under hyperemic conditions.

Conclusions: We have developed a framework for measuring K1 and change in IMBV in mice, demonstrating non-invasive µSPECT-based quantitative imaging of mouse microvascular function.

Keywords: Microvascular dysfunction; Myocardial blood flow; SPECT; Small-animal imaging.