MRI as an In Vivo Imaging Tool
MRI originated from the traditional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) physical phenomenon where a given nucleus exposed to high magnetic field absorbs and re-emits electromagnetic radiation. From the early 1950s, NMR was translated into spectroscopy (MRS) and contrast images (MRI), resulting from differences in tissue relaxation times. The technique has been further refined and now MRI is one the most specialized imaging modalities used in the assessment of therapeutic properties of drugs in preclinical in vivo imaging models. Radiofrequency waves combined with a strong magnetic field enable clear, detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues, such as the brain.
Below, you’ll find descriptions of Charles River’s MRI in vivo preclinical imaging capabilities and how these technologies can support your research.
Anatomical or Structural MRI is used to study the shape, volume, integrity, and developmental changes in brain tissues and blood brain barrier.
Anatomical MRI Services
Diffusion-based MR imaging is the gold standard to determine the brain tissue condition, e.g., infarction, or to examine white matter and myeline properties, both in clinical applications and in preclinical research.
Diffusion MRI Services
Functional & Pharmacological MRI
Functional MRI (fMRI) and pharmacological MRI (phMRI) are valuable tools to quantitatively measure changes in brain physiology and response to pharmacological modalities.
fMRI & phMRI Services
Hemodynamic MRI is a preclinical in vivo imaging technique which comprises a broad range of modalities that can be used in any indication with a vascular component, including naïve animals, models of stroke, traumatic injury, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, or other conditions with compromised perfusion or blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity.
Hemodynamic MRI Services
Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) is used to quantitatively evaluate metabolic markers in localized brain structures such as striatum, hippocampus, or even brain tumors. This method allows longitudinal in vivo metabolic profiling of disease progression as well as response to drug therapies and is ideally suited for chronic long-term studies to comprehensively characterize disease rat and mouse models with multiple readouts and timepoints.
Using Preclinical MRI to Accelerate Discovery
Preclinical in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can improve your efficiency and smooth the path from laboratory concept to commercial product. With more than 70 years of in-house collective expertise with MRI modalities, our team can help you to design and execute studies that meet your needs.
Our preclinical in vivo imaging experts who specialize in neuroscience research will help you find the right modality to address any of your specific questions – whether you seek data on mode of action, functional target engagement or something else – across all disease areas, e.g., acute neurology, neurodegeneration, demyelination, pain, seizures, and more.
We perform In vivo imaging with MRI using state-of-the-art systems and a plethora of models:
- Two dedicated high field 7T and 11.7T in vivo imaging systems
- Structural and functional imaging modalities
- Vast portfolio of neurological models
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MRI Preclinical In Vivo Imaging
How do healthcare costs relate to preclinical in vivo imaging using MRI?
Over a decade ago, both industry and FDA regulators recognized that a new approach, taking advantage of advances in preclinical in vivo imaging using MRI was needed to improve efficiency from in vivo pharmacology through drug development by recognizing the failure of molecules’ efficacy and safety earlier than Phase II clinical studies.
What species are you able to perform MRI on?
Preclinical in vivo imaging using MRI is performed on mice, rats, and large animals.
Are there resolution differences between brain and non-brain in vivo imaging using MRI?
While the measured organ, surrounding tissue environment, and imaging sequence can make a difference, it is possible to achieve high resolution brain and non-brain tissue MRI data. The brain does have the advantage of minimum motion that allows higher resolution compared to other organs.
Which software does Charles River use for brain volumetric analysis?
Currently, we use MATLAB-based software that was developed in-house and for brain volumetric analysis, the freely available AEDES software package is used.