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Micro-MRI phenotyping of a novel double-knockout mouse model of congenital heart disease
© Cleary et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Published: 21 January 2010
CHARGE and DiGeorge syndromes are conditions with incidences of 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 4000 and are strongly associated with haploinsufficiency of specific genes (CHD7 and TBX1). Both conditions are characterised by cardiovascular defects. Knockout mouse models are an important tool for the identification and characterisation of genes implicated in congenital heart conditions. Micro-MRI is an emerging technique for high resolution cardiac phenotyping in a reduced time compared to conventional histology, enabling the acquisition of 3D images of multiple embryos in a single scan.
Given the phenotypic overlap of these conditions we sought to examine the effect on cardiac morphology in double-knockout mouse embryos (Chd7+/-Tbx1+/-), performing an initial assessment of these mice using MRI.
18 embryos (1 wild-type, 7 Chd7+/-, 2 Tbx1+/- and 8 Chd7+/-Tbx1+/-) were imaged and examined for cardiac abnormalities.
16.5 dpc embryos were fixed for at least 2 weeks in a solution of 4% formaldehyde-PBS with 8 mM Gd-DTPA (Bayer-Schering AG) and then embedded in 1% agarose gel (doped with 8 mM Gd-DTPA) in 50 ml centrifuge tubes.
Performed on a Varian 9.4 T VNMRS system with 33 mm quadrature birdcage coil (RAPID Biomedical GmbH), using a 3D gradient echo sequence (TE/TR/FA/NSA = 9/20/60/7, FOV = 27 × 27 × 27 mm3, voxel size = 52 × 52 × 52 μm3).
Datasets were zero-filled to 26 × 26 × 26 μm3 and reviewed in Amira (v5.2, Visage Imaging Inc.).
Embryos identified with abnormal hearts by MRI, were then histologically examined by H&E staining.
Using micro-MRI we have successfully identified cardiac abnormalities in genetically-modified embryos. A single Chd7+/- embryo was found to have an abnormal ventricular septum. A relatively high incidence of VSDs was observed in Chd7+/-Tbx1+/- compared to Chd7+/-mice, indicating possible interaction of these two genes. An interrupted aortic arch was identified in one Chd7+/-Tbx1+/- embryo. All abnormal findings were later confirmed by histology which indicates that micro-MRI is an effective technique for cardiac phenotyping.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.