Quantitative pharmacologic MRI in mice

Teodora Adriana Perles-Barbacaru, Daniel Procissi, Andrey V. Demyanenko, Russell E. Jacobs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Pharmacologic MRI (phMRI) uses functional MRI techniques to provide a noninvasive in vivo measurement of the hemodynamic effects of drugs. The cerebral blood volume change (ΔCBV) serves as a surrogate for neuronal activity via neurovascular coupling mechanisms. By assessing the location and time course of brain activity in mouse mutant studies, phMRI can provide valuable insights into how different behavioral phenotypes are expressed in deferring brain activity response to drug challenge. In this report, we evaluate the utility of three different intravascular ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) contrast agents for phMRI using a gradient-echo technique, with temporal resolution of one min at high magnetic field. The tissue half-life of the USPIOs was studied using a nonlinear detrending model. The three USPIOs are candidates for CBV weighted phMRI experiments, with r 2/r 1 ratios≥20 and apparent half-lives≥1.5h at the described doses. An echo-time of about 10ms or longer results in a functional contrast to noise ratio (fCNR)>75 after USPIO injection, with negligible decrease between 1.5-2h. phMRI experiments were conducted at 7T using cocaine as a psychotropic substance and acetazolamide, a global vasodilator, as a positive control. Cocaine acts as a dopamine-serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, increasing extracellular concentrations of these neurotransmitters, and thus increasing dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic neurotransmission. phMRI results showed that CBV was reduced in the normal mouse brain after cocaine challenge, with the largest effects in the nucleus accumbens, whereas after acetazolamide, blood volume was increased in both cerebral and extracerebral tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Cocaine
  • Mice
  • Pharmacologic MRI
  • Reward circuitry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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