Measurements of myocardial blood flow (MBF) and contractile function are essential to the evaluation of coronary heart disease (CHD). While compromised contractile function occurs as CHD advances, a growing concept is that coronary microvascular disease with impaired MBF reserve is an early marker of CHD, is prognostic of adverse events, and is potentially causal of additional coronary vascular disease, such as in the setting of diabetes with hyperglycemia. Due to the ready availability of genetically-manipulated animals, mouse models are widely used to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying CHD. We previously developed cine DENSE MRI to quantify contractile function in mice with high accuracy, resolution, and ease of analysis. We also applied multi-parametric MRI in gene-modified mice to elucidate the roles of various receptors and enzymes in normal cardiac function and in post-infarct left-ventricular remodeling. Next, we propose to focus on imaging to elucidate mechanisms underlying coronary microvascular dysfunction by assessment of MBF in mice. Basic MBF imaging in mice using first-pass MRI and arterial spin labeling (ASL) have previously been demonstrated by us and others, however, through acceleration using compressed sensing (CS) and improved tracer kinetic modeling, we propose to develop substantial improvements to spatial resolution, scan time, and quantitation. Furthermore, we propose comparison studies to determine which method is most accurate and reproducible. Subsequently, we propose to apply MBF imaging in hyperglycemic diabetic mice (Akita mice), where we will test the hypothesis that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and the receptor for AGE (RAGE) mediate hyperglycemic coronary microvascular dysfunction. To accomplish these goals we have three specific aims. First, we will use novel CS methods to develop (a) a motion-compensated dual-contrast first- pass gadolinium-enhanced MRI technique for MBF imaging in mice and (b) an accelerated ASL MRI technique for high-resolution MBF imaging in less than 10 minutes. In our second aim we will compare and validate first- pass MRI and ASL for MBF imaging in mice, using microspheres as a gold standard.
This aim will include reproducibility studies. In our third aim we will use MBF and other imaging to test the hypothesis that RAGE-/- mice are protected from coronary microvascular disease that develops in akita mice. The successful completion of these aims would lead to improved imaging methods for quantifying MBF in mice. In one particular application, MBF imaging would be used to establish the role of RAGE in coronary microvascular disease secondary to diabetic hyperglycemia.

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The diabetes epidemic in the U.S. continues to rise, leading to increased hyperglycemia and associated complications including coronary macrovascular and microvascular disease. We propose to develop improved methods for quantitative imaging of myocardial blood flow reserve for mice, and to use these methods in gene- modified mice to elucidate molecular mechanisms that underlie the link between diabetes, hyperglycemia, and coronary microvascular disease.

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National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
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Medical Imaging Study Section (MEDI)
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Liu, Guoying
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University of Virginia
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Medicine
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