BACKGROUND: Phosphorus cardiovascular magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-CMRS) has emerged as an important tool for the preclinical assessment of myocardial energetics in vivo. However, the high rate and diminutive size of the mouse heart is a challenge, resulting in low resolution and poor signal-to-noise. Here we describe a refined high-resolution 31P-CMRS technique and apply it to a novel double transgenic mouse (dTg) with elevated myocardial creatine and creatine kinase (CK) activity. We hypothesised a synergistic effect to augment energetic status, evidenced by an increase in the ratio of phosphocreatine-to-adenosine-triphosphate (PCr/ATP). METHODS AND RESULTS: Single transgenic Creatine Transporter overexpressing (CrT-OE, n = 7) and dTg mice (CrT-OE and CK, n = 6) mice were anaesthetised with isoflurane to acquire 31P-CMRS measurements of the left ventricle (LV) utilising a two-dimensional (2D), threefold under-sampled density-weighted chemical shift imaging (2D-CSI) sequence, which provided high-resolution data with nominal voxel size of 8.5 µl within 70 min. (1H-) cine-CMR data for cardiac function assessment were obtained in the same imaging session. Under a separate examination, mice received invasive haemodynamic assessment, after which tissue was collected for biochemical analysis. Myocardial creatine levels were elevated in all mouse hearts, but only dTg exhibited significantly elevated CK activity, resulting in a 51% higher PCr/ATP ratio in heart (3.01 ± 0.96 vs. 2.04 ± 0.57-mean ± SD; dTg vs. CrT-OE), that was absent from adjacent skeletal muscle. No significant differences were observed for any parameters of LV structure and function, confirming that augmentation of CK activity does not have unforeseen consequences for the heart. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed an improved 31P-CMRS methodology for the in vivo assessment of energetics in the murine heart which enabled high-resolution imaging within acceptable scan times. Mice over-expressing both creatine and CK in the heart exhibited a synergistic elevation in PCr/ATP that can now be tested for therapeutic potential in models of chronic heart failure.
J Cardiovasc Magn Reson
31P-CMRS, Creatine kinase, Creatine transporter, Energetics, Metabolism, Myocardial function, Transgenic mice, Mice, Animals, Creatine Kinase, Creatine, Energy Metabolism, Predictive Value of Tests, Myocardium, Phosphocreatine, Adenosine Triphosphate, Mice, Transgenic