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    Prior preclinical studies established the utility of liposomal nanoparticle blood-pool contrast agents in visualizing the retroplacental clear space (RPCS), a marker of normal placentation, while sparing fetuses from exposure because the agent does not cross the placental barrier. In this work, we characterized RPCS disruption in a mouse model of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) using these agents. Contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) and computed tomography (CE-CT) using liposomal nanoparticles bearing gadolinium (liposomal-Gd) and iodine were performed in pregnant Gab3-/- and wild type (WT) mice at day 16 of gestation. CE-MRI was performed on a 1T scanner using a 2D T1-weighted sequence (100×100×600 µm3 voxels) and CE-CT was performed at a higher resolution (70×70×70 µm3 voxels). Animals were euthanized post-imaging and feto-placental units (FPUs) were harvested for histological examination. RPCS conspicuity was scored through blinded assessment of images. Pregnant Gab3-/- mice showed elevated rates of complicated pregnancy. Contrast-enhanced imaging demonstrated frank infiltration of the RPCS of Gab3-/- FPUs. RPCS in Gab3-/- FPUs was smaller in volume, demonstrated a heterogeneous signal profile, and received lower conspicuity scores than WT FPUs. Histology confirmed in vivo findings and demonstrated staining consistent with a thinner RPCS in Gab3-/- FPUs. Imaging of the Gab3-/- mouse model at late gestation with liposomal contrast agents enabled in vivo characterization of morphological differences in the RPCS that could cause the observed pregnancy complications. An MRI-based method for visualizing the RPCS would be valuable for early detection of invasive placentation. Copyright © 2022 The Association of University Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Andrew A Badachhape, Prajwal Bhandari, Laxman Devkota, Mayank Srivastava, Eric A Tanifum, Verghese George, Karin A Fox, Chandrasekhar Yallampalli, Ananth V Annapragada, Ketan B Ghaghada. Nanoparticle Contrast-enhanced MRI for Visualization of Retroplacental Clear Space Disruption in a Mouse Model of Placental Accreta Spectrum (PAS). Academic radiology. 2023 Jul;30(7):1384-1391

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    PMID: 36167627

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