OBJECTIVE: We studied whether manganese-enhanced high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging (MEHFMRI) could quantitatively detect individual islets in situ and in vivo and evaluate changes in a model of experimental diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Whole pancreata from untreated (n = 3), MnCl(2) and glucose-injected mice (n = 6), and mice injected with either streptozotocin (STZ; n = 4) or citrate buffer (n = 4) were imaged ex vivo for unambiguous evaluation of islets. Exteriorized pancreata of MnCl(2) and glucose-injected mice (n = 6) were imaged in vivo to directly visualize the gland and minimize movements. In all cases, MR images were acquired in a 14.1 Tesla scanner and correlated with the corresponding (immuno)histological sections. RESULTS: In ex vivo experiments, MEHFMRI distinguished different pancreatic tissues and evaluated the relative abundance of islets in the pancreata of normoglycemic mice. MEHFMRI also detected a significant decrease in the numerical and volume density of islets in STZ-injected mice. However, in the latter measurements the loss of beta-cells was undervalued under the conditions tested. The experiments on the externalized pancreata confirmed that MEHFMRI could visualize native individual islets in living, anesthetized mice. CONCLUSIONS: Data show that MEHFMRI quantitatively visualizes individual islets in the intact mouse pancreas, both ex vivo and in vivo.
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