Apart from routine imaging, new methods are developed. We will help you in planning and setting up your experiments, give full training and provide continuous support where needed. Please, see our Open Access Policy and User fees.
fMRI studies in animal models provide invaluable information regarding normal and abnormal brain function, especially when combined with complementary stimulation and recording techniques. Small animal fMRI studies are typically under anesthesia in order to minimize the stress and movement of the animals. However, anesthesia heavily modulates brain function and neurovascular coupling, making it probably the most serious confounding factor in preclinical fMRI.
We have systematically studied the influence of anesthesia and can provide several different anesthesia protocols for different fMRI experiments. We have also implemented novel methodology for awake fMRI, including progressive well controlled training protocols with reward, animal holders and head fixing protocols and novel quiet and artefact free zero-echo time pulse sequence. fMRI studies can be combined with electrical recording (EEG and LFP) and deep brain stimulation. The project developing the first fMRI compatible small animal TMS is on-going in collaboration with Aalto University. This expertise area is under active development by research group lead by Professor Olli Gröhn.
Dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP) enhances 13C-polarisation levels up to 700,000 ppm (normal polarisation at 9.4 T at 37 degrees is about 8 ppm) leading to a massive increase in 13C sensitivity. The dissolution DNP (dDNP) method makes it possible to produce solutions with highly polarised marker molecules that can be injected into a patient for real-time detection of their metabolic conversion. The high signal levels remain for up to 2 minutes depending of the used 13C-labelled marker molecule and the signal is high enough for metabolic imaging.
dDNP can be applied spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging to study metabolical diseases in rats and mice using 13C-labelled metabolites such as pyruvate, which has shown great promise in cancer, cardiac imaging and neuroimaging.
Hyperpolarised metabolic MRI experiments can be combined with modern 1H imaging techniques to yield a comprehensive picture of the tissue status and gain a better understanding of potential biomarkers for metabolic diseases in brain and in other organs such as heart. This expertise area is under active development in research group lead by Research Director Mikko Kettunen.
This is a multidisciplinary work in the application and combination of multiscale imaging modalities. Using the 11.7T MRI scanner the overall aim is to assess complex patterns of pathological tissue alterations in the brain using advanced magnetic resonance (MRI) techniques, and modern histopathological methods. This expertise area is under active development in research group led by Research Director Alejandra Sierra-Lopez.
Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit (Kuopio BIU) together with Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) and companies started a molecular imaging platform to develop molecular imaging in the Eastern Finland area. This molecular imaging platform combines the KUH radiotracer production with Kuopio BIU and serves the companies in the drug development cluster, the clinical research groups at the University of Eastern Finland as well as the clinical research at Kuopio University Hospital.
New small animal PET-MRI cabable of simultaneous imaging was installed in 2021. The system combines the benefits of both MRI (at magnetic fields strengths from 0.7 T to 7 T) and PET, thus allowing more sophisticated study protocols.
Our equipment offers access to most common pre-clinical imaging platforms (Bruker, MR Solutions, Agilent). Most contemporary imaging and spectroscopy pulse sequences are available or can be implemented on request. In Kuopio we also have more than 20 years’ experience in tailoring MRI experiments for different purposes including pulse-sequence development. A large variety of different MRI and MRS techniques are available for rodent brain and cardiac imaging, including:
- Anatomical imaging with multiple qualitative and quantitative contrasts (T1, T2, T1ρ, RAFF…)
- Functional, pharmacological and resting-state MRI with simultaneous electrical measurements. Experiments can be performed using both traditional EPI-based methods and state-of-the-art zero-echo-time methods.
- Cardiac imaging
- Diffusion (tensor and multidimensional) imaging
- Perfusion (e.g. CBF/CBV) imaging
- Ultrashort TE imaging (eg. ZTE, SWIFT)
- Hyperpolarised experiments using e.g. 13C-labelled metabolites
μPET imaging is done in collaboration with Kuopio University Hospital and with its radiochemistry laboratory and cyclotron. Through this collaboration PET imaging with tailor made radiopharmaceuticals can be attained.
Our CT scanner can be used separately or in connection with the other imaging modalities.
While not part of BIU, these services are also available upon request.
We have stereotactic small animal holders that can be used in the 7 T magnet, PET and the CT device allowing multimodality (MRI/PET/CT) imaging in the same coordinates.
The Kuopio BIU facility has complete anesthesia and physiological monitoring units suitable for in-bore monitoring of experimental animals. These units also allow triggering for breathing and heartbeat -synchronized imaging. Lab Animal Centre is easily reachable from the facility and small groups of animals can also be temporarily stored within Kuopio BIU premises.
Most of our data analysis is done in Matlab and Python. Simple image analysis and calculation of e.g. relaxation time maps is performed using our home-built image analysis interface Aedes. For more complicated computing (Z-spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging…), separate analysis pipelines can be built. Functional and pharmacological MRI data is analyzed in FSL or SPM software and MRS data with LC model. Other analysis software for PET, MR and/or CT data include PMOD, Inveon Research Workplace and Carimas.
We can provide basic histological stainings.
Unit can provide basic behavioural studies on request.