Department of Clinical Medicine - Comparative Medicine Lab, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Napoli, Italy.
Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.
Computer Assisted Clinical Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.
Institute of Biostructures and Bioimaging (IBB), Italian National Research Council (CNR), Torino, Italy. email@example.com.
Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI monitors the transit of contrast agents, typically gadolinium chelates, through the intrarenal regions, the renal cortex, the medulla, and the collecting system. In this way, DCE-MRI reveals the renal uptake and excretion of the contrast agent. An optimal DCE-MRI acquisition protocol involves finding a good compromise between whole-kidney coverage (i.e., 3D imaging), spatial and temporal resolution, and contrast resolution. By analyzing the enhancement of the renal tissues as a function of time, one can determine indirect measures of clinically important single-kidney parameters as the renal blood flow, glomerular filtration rate, and intrarenal blood volumes. Gadolinium-containing contrast agents may be nephrotoxic in patients suffering from severe renal dysfunction, but otherwise DCE-MRI is clearly useful for diagnosis of renal functions and for assessing treatment response and posttransplant rejection.Here we introduce the concept of renal DCE-MRI, describe the existing methods, and provide an overview of preclinical DCE-MRI applications to illustrate the utility of this technique to measure renal perfusion and glomerular filtration rate in animal models.This publication is based upon work from the COST Action PARENCHIMA, a community-driven network funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program of the European Union, which aims to improve the reproducibility and standardization of renal MRI biomarkers. This introduction is complemented by two separate publications describing the experimental procedure and data analysis.