Selina Bucher1, Michael Neumaier1, Sascha Koehler2, Birgit Jung3, Detlef Stiller1
1In-Vivo Imaging Unit, Dept. of Drug Discovery Support, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Biberach, BW, Germany; 2Method Development, Bruker BioSpin MRI GmbH, Ettlingen, Germany; 3Dept. of Respiratory Diseases Research, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Biberach, BW, Germany
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic inflammation and mucus production. Because an excess of mucus triggers infections, an efficient mucociliary clearance (MCC) is important. To detect therapy-induced changes in MCC, non-invasive imaging techniques are needed. We used 2D radial MRI and micron-sized iron-oxide particles to evaluate MCC in the rat lung, where four different iron-oxide particles yielded an attenuated MR signal. Clearance of 4.5 m-sized particles occurred within one day, whereas smaller and larger particles were not cleared. Our results indicate a great potential for MRI with micron-sized iron-oxide particles to visualize and quantify MCC in patients.