Among different imaging techniques, MRI is rarely employed in small animals because it is cost- and time-consuming and demands substantial expertise. However, MRI has a high spatial resolution and the possibility to simultaneously extract physiological and anatomical information are its great advantages when the number of animals that can be injected with cells is limited. Here we evaluate the performance of MRI in detecting pathological alterations in a mouse injected with potential metastatic cells from a human specimen. MRI was carried out with a clinical 1.5T system, every 2 weeks, starting from 30 days post injection till 90 days post-injection when the mouse was terminated. At the second week of MRI monitoring, a bilateral increase in signal intensity in the kidneys was observed. In addition, T2-weighted images showed enlargement of the spleen. Blind histopathological analysis performed on the terminated mouse indeed confirmed metaplasia of the myeloid component of spleen and glomerulonephritis in the kidneys. Thus, MRI with its properties that allow to reduce the number of mice to obtain relevant information, may be the method of choice to in vivo monitor the effects of cells present in limited number in human specimens, whose in vitro manipulation or expansion is not recommended.
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