BOLD-MRI demonstrates acute placental and fetal organ hypoperfusion with fetal brain sparing in response to phenylephrine but not ephedrine

Joel Shapiro, Yehuda Ginosar, Yuval Gielchinsky, Uriel Elchalal, Zohar Bromberg, Nathalie Corchia-Nachmanson, Rinat Abramovitch
Placenta2020
Introduction: We previously reported blood oxygen level dependent MRI (BOLD-MRI) for monitoring placental and fetal hemodynamic changes in mice following maternal hypercapnia. Here we use BOLD-MRI to compare the placental and fetal hemodynamic effects of different maternal vasopressors in mice. Methods: Pregnant ICR mice (n = 16; E17.5) anesthetized with pentobarbital (80 mg/kg i.p.) were placed supine in a 4.7-T Bruker Biospec MRI. Following baseline images, equipotential doses of ephedrine (10 mg/kg) or phenylephrine (10mcg/kg) were administered intravenously. Changes in placental and fetal signal were analyzed from T2*-weighted gradient echo MR images (TR/TE = 147/10 ms). Different regions of interest (placenta, fetal heart, fetal liver and fetal brain) were identified. Percentage change of BOLD-MRI signal intensity (SI) were presented as time curves. Results: Ephedrine and phenylephrine elicited markedly different effects. Phenylephrine caused an approximate 50% reduction in placental, fetal heart and fetal liver BOLD-MRI-SI, but fetal brain BOLD-MRI-SI was unchanged (statistically different from placenta and other fetal organs; p < 0.001), and the fetal brain/liver BOLD-MRI-SI ratio was markedly increased versus baseline (p < 0.001). Following ephedrine, placental BOLD-MRI-SI increased 30% and fetal heart BOLD-MRI-SI was reduced 26%; other fetal organs were unchanged. Blood gases were unchanged. Discussion: Phenylephrine induced BOLD-MRI-SI changes suggestive of placental and fetal hypoperfusion with brain sparing. Ephedrine induced BOLD-MRI-SI changes suggestive of increased cardiac output; we speculate that reduced fetal heart BOLD-MRI-SI may be due to increased fetal myocardial oxygen extraction or metabolic acidosis. The result demonstrates the potential of BOLD-MRI as a non-invasive hemodynamic tool for assessing pharmacodynamics effects in the placental and fetus.
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