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Kraiger, Markus; Klein-Rodewald, Tanja; Rathkolb, Birgit; Calzada-Wack, Julia; Sanz-Moreno, Adrian; Fuchs, Helmut; Wolf, Eckhard; Gailus-Durner, Valerie and Hrabe de Angelis, Martin (2022): Monitoring longitudinal disease progression in a novel murine Kit tumor model using high-field MRI. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 12, No. 1, 14608

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Animal models are an indispensable platform used in various research disciplines, enabling, for example, studies of basic biological mechanisms, pathological processes and new therapeutic interventions. In this study, we applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize the clinical picture of a novel N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-induced Kit-mutant mouse in vivo. Seven C3H Kit(N824K/WT) mutant animals each of both sexes and their littermates were monitored every other month for a period of twelve months. MRI relaxometry data of hematopoietic bone marrow and splenic tissue as well as high-resolution images of the gastrointestinal organs were acquired. Compared with controls, the mutants showed a dynamic change in the shape and volume of the cecum and enlarged Peyer ' s patches were identified throughout the entire study. Mammary tumors were observed in the majority of mutant females and were first detected at eight months of age. Using relaxation measurements, a substantial decrease in longitudinal relaxation times in hematopoietic tissue was detected in mutants at one year of age. In contrast, transverse relaxation time of splenic tissue showed no differences between genotypes, except in two mutant mice, one of which had leukemia and the other hemangioma. In this study, in vivo MRI was used for the first time to thoroughly characterize the evolution of systemic manifestations of a novel Kit-induced tumor model and to document the observable organ-specific disease cascade.

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