Quantification of placental change in mouse models of preeclampsia using magnetic resonance microscopy

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Gabriele Bobek
Tim Stait-Gardner
William Price
Angela Makris *
Annemarie Hennessy
(*) Corresponding Author:
Angela Makris | angela.makris@sswahs.nsw.gov.au


Abnormal development of the placenta is postulated to be central to the aetiology of preeclampsia. This study investigates changes in placental histopathology in mouse models of preeclampsia compared to the morphology using magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) (11.7 T) of intact ex vivo tissue followed by 3D analysis of the image data. Here, C57BL/6JArc pregnant mice were subject to either normal pregnancy (n=3), or to one of two experimental models of preeclampsia; TNF-α infusion  (n=3) or reduced uterine perfusion pressure(RUPP) (n=3). Placental tissue was collected at gestational day (gd) 17, fixed in formalin and incubated with Magnavist™ contrast agent, and high resolution images (50 μm × 50 μm × 50 μm voxels) obtained by magnetic resonance imaging at 11.74 T. Visual segmentation into placental subregions and three dimensional (3D) reconstruction followed by volume analysis was performed with Amira™ 3D analysis software. The significance of differences between treatment groups in total and regional volumes was assessed. In a single placenta the volumes measure by standard histology were compared. Three placentas from each animal were imaged, segmented into anatomical regions and 3D reconstructions generated. Total placental volume, labyrinth and decidual volume were not significantly different between groups. The junctional zone volume was found to be significantly larger in the RUPP animals (18.5±1.5 mm3) compared to TNF-α infused animals (15.8±1.5) or control animals (15.0±0.7, P<0.01). However, the decidual/junctional zone volume was smaller in the TNF-a compared to control animals (P<0.05). Placental structural change in experimental models of preeclampsia is able to be visualized and quantified using MRM and 3-D analysis. These techniques could prove to be a powerful tool in examining changes in placental morphology.

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