Research Summary: Visualization of Abscess Formation in a Murine Thigh Infection Model of Staphylococcus aureus by 19F-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)



During the last years, 19F-MRI and perfluorocarbon nanoemulsion (PFC) emerged as a powerful contrast agent based MRI methodology to track cells and to visualize inflammation. We applied this new modality to visualize deep tissue abscesses during acute and chronic phase of inflammation caused by Staphylococcus aureus infection.

Methodology and Principal Findings

In this study, a murine thigh infection model was used to induce abscess formation and PFC or CLIO (cross linked ironoxides) was administered during acute or chronic phase of inflammation. 24 h after inoculation, the contrast agent accumulation was imaged at the site of infection by MRI. Measurements revealed a strong accumulation of PFC at the abscess rim at acute and chronic phase of infection. The pattern was similar to CLIO accumulation at chronic phase and formed a hollow sphere around the edema area. Histology revealed strong influx of neutrophils at the site of infection and to a smaller extend macrophages during acute phase and strong influx of macrophages at chronic phase of inflammation.

Conclusion and Significance

We introduce 19F-MRI in combination with PFC nanoemulsions as a new platform to visualize abscess formation in a murine thigh infection model of S. aureus. The possibility to track immune cells in vivo by this modality offers new opportunities to investigate host immune response, the efficacy of antibacterial therapies and the influence of virulence factors for pathogenesis.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 24-March-2011

Author(s): Hertlein T., Sturm V., Kircher S., Basse-Lüsebrink T., Haddad D., Ohlsen K., Jakob P.


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