Small Animal Imaging With Hyperpolarized Xe Gas

Our lab performs various magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments using hyperpolarized Xenon (HPXe) gas to look at the lungs of mouse models of cystic fibrosis. In order to keep images undistorted, everything must be metal free, including the small plastic catheters used to deliver the gas to the lungs of these small animals. Therefore, we replaced commercially available catheters, which use ferromagnetic materials to reinforce the catheter tubes, with 3D printed catheter fittings, which are completely metal free and keep our images undistorted. In addition, we designed and 3D printed an MR-compatible cradle used to position mice accurately and consistently during our imaging experiments.
The first image is a mouse cradle designed and fabricated using the 3D printer, used to image the lungs of small animals using MR visible gas. Gas for inhalation is delivered to the mouse through the tubing coming from the bottom left, through the 3D printed catheter, directly to the lungs.
The second image is MR compatible catheters fabricated using the 3D printer.
-Dr. Tamara Branca