Quantitative characterization of postnatal growth trends in proximal pulmonary arteries in rats by phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging.

Hedi Razavi, Shahrzad Y Zarafshar, Hirofumi Sawada, Charles a Taylor, Jeffrey a Feinstein
American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology2011
Malformations of the pulmonary arteries can increase right heart workload and result in morbidity, heart failure, and death. With the increased use of murine models to study these malformations, there is a pressing need for an accurate and noninvasive experimental technique that is capable of characterizing pulmonary arterial hemodynamics in these animals. We describe the growth trends of pulmonary arteries in 13 male Sprague-Dawley rats at 20, 36, 52, 100, and 160 days of age with the introduction of phase-contrast MRI as such a technique. PCMRI results correlated closely with cardiac output measurements by ultrasound echocardiography and with fluorescent microspheres in right-left lung flow split (flow partition). Mean flow, average cross-sectional area, distensibility, and shear rates for the right and left pulmonary arteries (RPA and LPA) were calculated. The RPA was larger and received more flow at all times than the LPA (P < 0.0001). Right-left flow split did not change significantly with age, and arterial distensibility was not significantly different between RPA and LPA, except at 160 days (P < 0.01). Shear rates were much higher for the LPA than the RPA (P < 0.0001) throughout development. The RPA and LPA showed different structure-function relationships but obeyed similar allometric scaling laws, with scaling exponents comparable to those of the main pulmonary artery. This study is the first to quantitatively describe changes in RPA and LPA flows and sizes with development and to apply phase-contrast MRI techniques to pulmonary arteries in rats.

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