Small animal cardiovascular MR imaging and spectroscopy

Adrianus J. Bakermans, Desiree Abdurrachim, Rik P. M. Moonen, Abdallah G. Motaal, Jeanine J. Prompers, Gustav J. Strijkers, Katrien Vandoorne, Klaas Nicolay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The use of MR imaging and spectroscopy for studying cardiovascular disease processes in small animals has increased tremendously over the past decade. This is the result of the remarkable advances in MR technologies and the increased availability of genetically modified mice. MR techniques provide a window on the entire timeline of cardiovascular disease development, ranging from subtle early changes in myocardial metabolism that often mark disease onset to severe myocardial dysfunction associated with end-stage heart failure. MR imaging and spectroscopy techniques play an important role in basic cardiovascular research and in cardiovascular disease diagnosis and therapy follow-up. This is due to the broad range of functional, structural and metabolic parameters that can be quantified by MR under in vivo conditions non-invasively. This review describes the spectrum of MR techniques that are employed in small animal cardiovascular disease research and how the technological challenges resulting from the small dimensions of heart and blood vessels as well as high heart and respiratory rates, particularly in mice, are tackled.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-47
JournalProgress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • MRI
  • MRS
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Rodents
  • Metabolism
  • Molecular imaging

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