Feasibility of replacing invasive heart pressure measurements with non-invasive MR Elastography to reduce rodent numbers in pre-clinical research

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (MRS) are sophisticated phenotyping techniques that allow for a non-invasive characterization of cardiac function, anatomy, structure and metabolism in rodents. However, when assessing myocardial function the isovolumic phases of the cardiac cycle are not directly accessible to imaging techniques, yet this is where maximal rates of pressure generation and relaxation occur. This type of information is only available using LV catheterization, which in rodents is an invasive and terminal procedure, requiring new experimental groups for every time-point.

Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE), which measures shear deformation following mechanical tissue stimulation, has the potential to non-invasively assess ventricular pressure in vivo, as successfully demonstrated in pig and in human hearts. However, this technique has not yet been applied to rodent hearts. We hypothesize that MRE can also be used to non-invasively measure left-ventricular pressure-volume curves with sufficient temporal resolution to detect subtle phenotypes in surgically and genetically manipulated rodents. We therefore propose to conduct a pilot study with the aim to develop the tools, which will be necessary to investigate this hypothesis.

If successful, MRE will have the potential to replace the invasive and terminal hemodynamic procedure in basic cardiovascular research, leading to a reduction in animal usage.

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Pilot study grant



Principal investigator

Dr Jurgen Schneider


University of Oxford


Professor Stefan Neubauer
Dr Craig Lygate

Grant reference number


Award date

Oct 2012 - Sep 2013

Grant amount