In Vivo Phenotyping of the ob/ob Mouse by Magnetic Resonance Imaging and 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy


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Department of Morphological-Biomedical Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, Medical Faculty, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134, Verona, Italy. E-mail:


Objective: We studied ob/ob and wild-type (WT) mice to characterize the adipose tissues depots and other visceral organs and to establish an experimental paradigm for in vivo phenotyping.

Research Methods and Procedures: An in vivo evaluation was conducted using magnetic resonance imaging and 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). We used T1-weighted images and three-dimensional spin echo T1-weighted images for the morphological analysis and 1H-MRS spectra on all body mass, as well as 1H-MRS spectra focalized on specific lipid depots [triglyceride (TG) depots] for a molecular analysis.

Results: In ob/ob mice, three-dimensional evaluation of the trunk revealed that ∼64% of the volume consists of white adipose tissue, which is 72% subcutaneous and 28% visceral. In vivo 1H-MRS showed that 20.00 ± 6.92% in the WT group and 58.67 ± 6.65% in the ob/ob group of the total proton content is composed of TG protons. In in vivo-localized spectra of ob/ob mice, we found a polyunsaturation degree of 0.5247 in subcutaneous depots. In the liver, we observed that 48.7% of the proton signal is due to water, whereas in the WT group, the water signal amounted to 82.8% of the total proton signal. With the sequences used, the TG amount was not detectable in the brain or kidneys.

Discussion: The present study shows that several parameters can be obtained by in vivo examination of ob/ob mice by magnetic resonance imaging and 1H-MRS and that the accumulated white adipose tissue displays low polyunsaturation degree and low hydrolipidic ratio. Relevant anatomical alterations observed in urinary and digestive apparatuses should be considered when ob/ob mice are used in experimental paradigms.