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In vivo assessment of nodularin-induced hepatotoxicity in the rat using magnetic resonance techniques (MRI, MRS and EPR oximetry).


Towner, R.A., Sturgeon, S.A. Khan, N., Hou, H. and Swartz, H.M.

Chemico-Biological Interactions, 139(3), 231-250 (2002).

Acute nodularin-induced hepatotoxicity was assessed in vivo, in rats using magnetic resonance (MR) techniques, including MR imaging (MRI), MR spectroscopy (MRS), and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) oximetry. Nodularin is a cyclic hepatotoxin isolated from the cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena. Three hours following the intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of nodularin (LD50), a region of 'damage', characterized by an increase in signal intensity, was observed proximal to the porta hepatis (PH) region in T2-weighted MR images of rat liver. linage analysis of these regions of apparent 'damage' indicated a statistically significant increase in signal intensity around the PH region following nodularin administration, in comparison with controls and regions peripheral to the PH region. An increase in signal intensity was also observed proximal to the PH region in water chemical shift selective images (CSSI) of nodularin-treated rat livers, indicating that the increased signal observed by MRI is an oedematous response to the toxin. Microscopic assessment (histology and electron microscopy) and serum liver enzyme function tests (aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate ALT (AST)) confirmed the nodularin-induced tissue injury observed by MRI. In vivo and in vitro MRS was used to detect alterations in metabolites, such as lipids, Glu + Gln, and choline, during the hepatotoxic response (2-3 h post-exposure). Biochemical assessment of perchloric acid extracts of nodularin-treated rat livers were used to confirm the MRS results. In vivo EPR oximetry was used to monitor decreasing hepatic pO(2) (similar to 2-fold from controls) 2 3 h following nodularin exposure. In vivo MR techniques (MRI, MRS and EPR oximetry) Lire able to highlight effects that may not have been evident in single end point studies, and are ideal methods to follow tissue injury progression in longitudinally. increasing the power of a study through repeated measures, and decreasing the number of animals to perform a similar study using histological or biochemical techniques.