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The rat heart is an excellent model for the investigation of cardiac physiology and metabolism. It has been used extensively for ex vivo studies of the normal heart as well as for the study of various heart diseases. With the advent of dedicated high-resolution small animal PET scanners, it is now possible to transpose many of the cardiac studies routinely used in humans to the rat. These include the in vivo measurement of myocardial blood flow, metabolism, and function. Because these techniques are noninvasive, the same animal can be imaged repetitively, thus allowing for follow-up studies of disease progression and for the assessment of new therapeutic methods. In this work, we report on cardiac studies performed in normal and diseased rats using the Sherbrooke avalanche photodiode PET scanner, a small animal PET imaging device achieving 14 μl volumetric spatial resolution with excellent image signal-to-noise ratio. The system also features flexible list-mode data acquisition, which allows dynamic studies to be resampled as desired for kinetic modeling. These cardiac PET imaging methods were used for the follow-up of infarcted rats submitted to experimental intramyocardial revascularization therapy.
Date of Publication: June 2004