Quantitative noninvasive imaging of myocardial mechanics in mice enables studies of the roles of individual genes in cardiac function. We sought to develop comprehensive three-dimensional methods for imaging myocardial mechanics in mice.
A 3D cine DENSE pulse sequence was implemented on a 7T small-bore scanner. The sequence used three-point phase cycling for artifact suppression and a stack-of-spirals k-space trajectory for efficient data acquisition. A semi-automatic 2D method was adapted for 3D image segmentation, and automated 3D methods to calculate strain, twist, and torsion were employed. A scan protocol that covered the majority of the left ventricle in a scan time of less than 25 minutes was developed, and seven healthy C57Bl/6 mice were studied.
Using these methods, multiphase normal and shear strains were measured, as were myocardial twist and torsion. Peak end-systolic values for the normal strains at the mid-ventricular level were 0.29 ± 0.17, -0.13 ± 0.03, and -0.18 ± 0.14 for Err, Ecc, and Ell, respectively. Peak end-systolic values for the shear strains were 0.00 ± 0.08, 0.04 ± 0.12, and 0.03 ± 0.07 for Erc, Erl, and Ecl, respectively. The peak end-systolic normalized torsion was 5.6 ± 0.9°.
Using a 3D cine DENSE sequence tailored for cardiac imaging in mice at 7 T, a comprehensive assessment of 3D myocardial mechanics can be achieved with a scan time of less than 25 minutes and an image analysis time of approximately 1 hour.