Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Detection of toxoplasmic lesions by USPIO-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Magn Reson Imaging. 2007 Jul 3; [Epub ahead of print]

Detection of toxoplasmic lesions in mouse brain by USPIO-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Wei L, Zhou G, Li Z, He L, Gao M, Tan J, Lei H.

State Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance and Atomic and Molecular Physics, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei 430071, PR China; Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, PR China.

The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of detecting toxoplasmic brain lesions in a mouse model of cerebral toxoplasmosis by ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Toxoplasmosis encephalitis was induced in Kunming mice by intracerebral injection of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites. T(2)- and T(2)*-weighted MRI was performed 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 days after infection before USPIO injection; immediately after USPIO injection; and 24 h later. A comparison of USPIO enhancement and Gd-DTPA enhancement was made in three toxoplasmic mice 4 days after infection. Hematoxylin and eosin staining and Prussian blue staining were performed to detect inflammatory reactions and presence of iron in and around the toxoplasmic brain lesions. Nonenhanced T(2)-/T(2)*-weighted imaging detected few abnormalities in the brain up to 5 days. Most mice developed prominent hydrocephalus at 6 days. Gd-DTPA-enhanced imaging showed prominent enhancement of the cerebral ventricles but revealed only few space-occupying lesions in the parenchyma. USPIO-enhanced T(2)*-weighted imaging showed improved detection of toxoplasmic brain lesions that were invisible to nonenhanced T(2)-/T(2)*-weighted imaging and gadolinium-enhanced imaging. Most of the enhancing lesions showed nodular enhancement immediately after USPIO injection, some of which changed appearance 24 h later, having a ring enhancement at the outer rim. It can be concluded that USPIO enhancement of the toxoplasmic lesions may reflect blood-brain barrier impairment and/or inflammatory reactions associated with these lesions. USPIO-enhanced imaging may be used in combination with gadolinium-enhanced imaging to provide better characterization of toxoplasmic brain lesions and, potentially, improve the differential diagnosis of toxoplasmosis encephalitis.

PMID: 17614231 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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