Functional and molecular imaging of heart failure in laboratory animals

Project Details


The aim of this project is to study cell transplantation in a mouse model of heart failure using non-invasive imaging: to determine the number of living cells, to measure cell proliferation and to locate the transplanted cells in 3D in the body. For this we use the rNIS-Fluc-transgenic rat model. These transgenic animals have the property that all cells express the red shifted firefly enzyme luciferase (fluc) and the sodium iodide transporter (rNIS). These reporter genes allow us to track the cells using optical and radionuclide imaging. The transgenic animals will be used as donor for cell transplants. The cells will be transplanted into wild-type animals with heart failure. After cell transplantation, we will serially image the animals using optical imaging and micro SPECT. The therapeutic effect of the cell transplantion will be monitored with pinhole gated MIBI SPECT and MIBG SPECT. These techniques allow the measurement of myocardial perfusion and innervation and also the global and regional cardiac function. This makes it possible for the investigate various parameters of cell transplantation and correlate this with the restoration of the myocardial function.

Effective start/end date1/10/0930/09/13


  • image processing techniques
  • image modelling and medical science
  • PET
  • small animal imaging
  • radiopharmaceuticals

Flemish discipline codes

  • Physical sciences
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Basic sciences
  • (Bio)medical engineering