A longitudinal study of placental perfusion using dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in murine pregnancy
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INTRODUCTION: To evaluate changes in placental perfusion with advancing gestation in normal murine pregnancy using dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI). METHODS: Seven timed-pregnant CD-1 mice underwent DCE-MRI scanning longitudinally on gestational days (GD) 13, 15 and 17. Placentas were segmented into high (HPZ) and low perfusion zones (LPZ) using tissue similarity mapping. Blood perfusion of the respective regions and the whole placenta was quantified using the steepest slope method. The diameter of the maternal central canal (CC) was also measured. RESULTS: An increase in perfusion was observed between GD13 and GD17 in the overall placenta (p = 0.04) and in the HPZ (p = 0.02). Although perfusion in the LPZ showed a slight increasing trend, it was not significant (p = 0.07). Perfusion, in units of ml/min/100 ml, in the overall placenta and the HPZ was respectively 61.2 ± 31.2 and 106.2 ± 56.3 at GD13 (n = 19 placentas); 90.3 ± 43.7 and 139 ± 55.4 at GD15 (n = 20); and 104.9 ± 76.1 and 172.2 ± 85.6 at GD17 (n = 14). The size of the CC increased with advancing gestation (p < 0.05). DISCUSSION: Using longitudinal DCE-MRI, the gestational age-dependent perfusion change in the normal murine placenta and in its regional compartments was quantified. In mid and late gestations, placental constituent regions differ significantly in their perfusion rates. The CC diameter also showed increase with advancing gestation, which may be playing an important role toward the gestational age-dependent increase in placental perfusion.
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