Non-invasive assessment of experimental autoimmune myocarditis in rats using a 3 T clinical MRI scanner

Shunit Rinkevich-Shop, Eli Konen, Tammar Kushnir, Frederick H. Epstein, Natalie Landa-Rouben, Orly Goitein, Tamar Ben Mordechai, Micha S. Feinberg, Arnon Afek, Jonathan Leor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


AimsThe aim of this study was to assess the use of a 3 T clinical cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) scanner to detect injury to the heart in experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM).Methods and resultsThe use of 3 T CMR for the detection of cardiac injury was assessed in EAM (n = 55) and control (n = 10) male Lewis rats. Animals were evaluated with serial CMR imaging studies, using a 3 T scanner, and with 2D echocardiography before, and at 2 and 5 weeks after EAM induction. By CMR, regional wall motion abnormalities were noted in seven out of eight rats with myocarditis 5 weeks after induction. Subsequently, the rats developed significant left ventricular (LV) dilatation, wall thickening, and pericardial effusion. Average LV systolic and diastolic volumes increased from 131 ± 10 to 257 ± 20 μL (P = 0.0008), and from 309 ± 14 to 412 ± 24 μL (P < 0.0001), and ejection fraction markedly deteriorated (from 58 ± 2 to 37 ± 5%; P = 0.0003). Areas of fibrosis were located by late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) CMR at the subepicardium, mainly within the anterior, lateral, and inferior walls. The extent and location of LGE were highly correlated (r = 0.94; P < 0.0001) with areas of myocardial fibrosis by histopathology, with 85% sensitivity and 86% specificity.ConclusionA clinical 3 T CMR scanner enables accurate detection, quantification, and monitoring of experimental myocarditis in rats, and could be used for translational research to study the pathophysiology of the disease and evaluate novel therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1079
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Heart Journal Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Cardiac MRI
  • Myocarditis
  • Remodelling


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