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Keywords:

  • contrast agent;
  • corpus luteum;
  • nonhuman primate;
  • ovary;
  • ultrasound

The development of a functional vascular tree within the primate ovary is critical for reproductive health. To determine the efficacy of contrast agents to image the microvascular environment within the primate ovary, contrast ultrasonography was performed in six reproductive-aged female common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) during the late luteal phase of the cycle, following injection of Sonovue™. Regions of interest (ROIs), representing the corpus luteum (CL) and noncorpus luteum ovarian tissue (NCLOT), were selected during gray-scale B-mode ultrasound imaging. The magnitude of backscatter intensity of CL and NCLOT ROIs were calculated in XnView, post hoc: subsequent gamma-variate modeling was implemented in Matlab to determine perfusion parameters. Histological analysis of these ovaries revealed a total of 11 CL, nine of which were identified during contrast ultrasonography. The median enhancement ratio was significantly increased in the CL (5.54AU; 95% CI −2.21–68.71) compared to the NCLOT (2.82AU; 95% CI 2.73–15.06; P < 0.05). There was no difference in time parameters between the CL and NCLOT. An additional avascular ROI was identified in the ovary of Animal 5, both histologically and by ultrasonography. This cystic ROI displayed a markedly lower enhancement ratio (0.79AU) and higher time parameters than mean CL and NCLOT, including time to peak and time to wash out. These data demonstrate, for the first time, the ability of commercially available contrast agents, to differentiate structures within the nonhuman primate ovary. Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography has a promising future in reproductive medicine. Am. J. Primatol. 74:1088-1096, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.