• diffusion tensor imaging;
  • myocardial fiber structure;
  • mouse;
  • MR microscopy


The relative utility of 3D, microscopic resolution assessments of fixed mouse myocardial structure via diffusion tensor imaging is demonstrated in this study. Isotropic 100-μm resolution fiber orientation mapping within 5.5° accuracy was achieved in 9.1 hr scan time. Preliminary characterization of the diffusion tensor primary eigenvector reveals a smooth and largely linear angular rotation across the left ventricular wall. Moreover, a higher level of structural hierarchy is evident from the organized secondary and tertiary eigenvector fields. These findings are consistent with the known myocardial fiber and laminar structures reported in the literature and suggest an essential role of diffusion tensor microscopy in developing quantitative atlases for studying the structure–function relationships of mouse hearts. Magn Reson Med 52:453–460, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.