Cardiovascular complications, including diabetic cardiomyopathy, are the major cause of fatalities in diabetes. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is expressed in part through fibrosis and left ventricular hypertrophy, increasing myocardial stiffness leading to heart failure. In order to search for curative interventions, precise evaluation of the diabetic heart pathology is extremely important. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is ideally suited for the assessment of heart disorders due to its high resolution, three-dimensional properties and dimensional accuracy. In this study streptozotocin injected Sprague-Dawley rats were used as a model of type 1 diabetes to characterize abnormalities in the diabetic left ventricle (LV). High resolution MRI using a 9.4 T horizontal bore scanner was performed on control and 7 weeks diabetic rats. In the diabetic rats as compared to controls, we found increased LV wall volume to body weight ratio, suggestive of LV hypertrophy; increased LV wall mean pixel intensity, and decreased T2 relaxation time, both suggestive of changes in the diabetic tissue properties, perhaps due to presence of fibrosis which was detected through increase in the collagen fractional area. In addition, changes in the LV cavity area were observed and quantified in post-mortem diabetic hearts indicative of stiffer and less resilient LV myocardial tissue with diabetes. Together the data suggest that LV hypertrophy and fibrosis may be a major factor underlying structural and functional abnormalities in the diabetic heart, and MRI is a valuable tool to non-invasively monitor the pathological changes in diabetic cardiomyopathy.
- Type 1 diabetes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine