Magnetic resonance imaging for the study of ovarian follicles in the mouse.
Stephenson AP., Tyler DJ., Carr CA., Williams SA.
Additional tools to analyze follicle development would be highly advantageous because current methods require sacrifice of animals at specific times and time-consuming sectioning of tissues for histologic analysis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may provide a less involved, faster and more cost-effective method to analyze follicles in whole ovaries. Fixed ovaries were collected at different stages of the estrus cycle and after stimulation with gonadotrophins (24 and 48 h post pregnant mares serum (PMSG), and 10 and 24 h post human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)) with or without administration of the contrast agent gadodiamide. The MR images were generated using a vertical-bore, 11.7 Tesla MR system. Analysis of the MR images revealed large antral follicles in fixed ovaries with the oocyte and cumulus mass identifiable within preovulatory follicles. The use of gadodiamide had no impact on the quality of MR images obtained. The fixed ovaries were paraffin embedded, sectioned, and hematoxylin stained. Follicles were counted using the MR images and the histology sections. Preovulatory follicle numbers determined using MR images were comparable to those using histology; however counts of smaller follicles were inconsistent. MRI of gonadotrophin-stimulated ovaries in situ did not reveal discernable ovarian structures. Therefore, MRI is a useful tool for studying whole fixed ovaries leaving the ovary intact for additional analyses or for selection of samples based on morphology. The MRI is also useful for identifying preovulatory follicles, although analysis of smaller follicles is not possible, and thus the potential exists for cyst analysis in mouse models of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).