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You are here:///M-Series Compact MRI – Aspect Imaging
M-Series Compact MRI – Aspect Imaging2018-12-21T14:28:51+00:00

M-Series™ Compact MRI Series

Feature Benefit
Low purchase price; well-equipped mouse-only systems, starting from $290,000 USD MRI, the gold standard in soft tissue imaging, is more accessible for pre-clinical researchers
Compact, self-shielded permanent magnet requires no special infrastructure or location for installation The system may be installed within an animal facility, or existing laboratory next to other equipment or furnishings
Well-designed animal handling system with fully integrated physiological monitoring, heating, and anaesthesia Simplified preparation for imaging, and on-going monitoring to ensure stability of the animal throughout the imaging session
Easy to use software interface with numerous default sequences optimized for most common imaging applications Pre-clinical researchers, without prior knowledge of MR physics, are able to reproducibly obtain high quality images of their specific animal models
Minimal operating costs as no electricity is required to generate the magnetic field, no cryogens or water are required for cooling, and the permanent magnet has no ongoing maintenance requirements. Research budgets are preserved and can be used to focus on the science rather than equipment maintenance
Hardware and software add-ons are available to allow for integration of other imaging modalities such as PET and bioluminescence Multi-modal images provide additional insights into animal models, improving the power of the results obtained at each imaging time-point
Brochure
References
Tech Specs

The cost effective M-SeriesTM compact magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems have been designed and manufactured with the pre-clinical researcher in mind. These high-performance MRI systems provide powerful results without the cost, complexity, and technical burden of other systems on the market today.

The intuitive software interface, and optimized default sequences, allow the user to acquire high resolution anatomical, functional, and molecular images with no prior experience in MR imaging. While the flexibility and customization options within the software allow the experience MR physicist the ability to tailor the performance of the MR system to suit their needs.

The self-shielded, permanent magnet design of the M-SeriesTM systems allow them to be installed typically in less than one day, with first images being acquired during the installation. The advanced design of the system requires no additional infrastructure allowing it to be installed within a core imaging lab, animal facility, or existing laboratory right next to other equipment or fixtures.

The animal handling system again takes into account the pre-clinical researcher with easy to use fully integrated anaesthesia, heating, and physiological monitoring systems. This allows the user to quickly prepare the animal for imaging, and ensures the stability of the animal throughout the imaging session.

The M-SeriesTM of systems includes both the M3 and M7 systems. The only difference between the two systems is the size of the bore which ultimately effects the overall size of the magnet. The bore, being the hole inside the magnet, determines the size of animal which may be imaged by the system. The M3, is a mouse-only system; while the M7 can image animals ranging in size from mice all the way to large rats.

Hardware and software add-ons to the M-SeriesTM systems increase the functionality of the system allowing for simultaneous PET/MR imaging, fusion of the MR image with 3D tomographic BLI/FLI images acquired on a third party system, or very high resolution images on fixed samples for toxicology studies.

MR contrast agents further enhance the capabilities of this imaging modality, providing invaluable insights into tissue/tumor perfusion, myocardial infarction size, as well as molecular targets. Both Gadolinium and Iron-Oxide based contrast agents can be used with the M-SeriesTM product line. These systems are ideally suited to acquire contrast agent images as it operates at 1 Tesla (T), having an increased sensitivity to the effects of Gadolinium over higher-field MR systems.

The M-SeriesTM high performance, compact MRI systems from Aspect Imaging have been designed with the preclinical researcher in mind. They have been simplified and optimized to allow those having no background in MR the ability to harness the power of this gold standard in soft tissue imaging. With a large number of imaging applications the M-SeriesTM systems may be utilized by a number of research groups within a given institution, providing added value to these cost-effective systems. The M-SeriesTM systems:

  • Are simple to operate, requiring no previous background in MR physics
  • Easy to install with images being acquired on the first day
  • Require no specialized infrastructure
    • No electricity is required to maintain the magnetic field, they utilize a permanent magnet made of neodymium; this means the magnetic field is not susceptible to power fluctuations or outages, and will always be maintained
    • The magnet is self-shielded with a very small fringe field requiring no additional shielding or special considerations at the site of installation
    • No cryogens (i.e. helium), water/plumbing are needed for cooling; fans act to pull room air across the gradients when cooling is required
  • May be installed within a core imaging lab, animal facility, or existing laboratory right next to other equipment or fixtures
  • Have no ongoing running or maintenance costs, only standard electricity is supplied to the electronics cabinet during an imaging session, and the permanent magnet has no regular maintenance requirements
  • Have an easy to operate, intuitive software interface and analysis tools allowing the preclinical researcher to quickly learn to generate reproducible, quantitative results
  • Have a fully integrated animal handling system with built in physiological monitoring, heating, and anaesthesia

The M-SeriesTM systems operate at a field strength of 1 Tesla (T), this makes them ideally suited for contrast imaging using Gadolinium (Gd) based agents. Numerous groups, including Dr. Silvio Aime’s group at the Molecular Imaging Center at the University of Torino in Italy, have shown the improved sensitivity to Gd contrast agents at 1T when compared to higher field systems. Additionally, iron oxide based contrast agents may also be used on the M-seriesTM systems. There are a wide variety of non-targeted and targeted contrast agents which expand the utility of MR systems to provide tumor/tissue perfusion, myocardial infarct size, and molecular information. Additionally, the M-SeriesTM systems also offer the experienced MR user the flexibility and customization options to tailor the performance of the system to suit their needs. The following sequences are available on all M-SeriesTM systems:

  • Spin echo (SE), with following options
    • Respiration/cardiac triggering
    • Preceding inversion recovery pulse (IR-SE)
    • Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI)
  • Gradient Echo (GRE), with following options
    • 2D and 3D
    • Respiration/cardiac triggering
    • Dynamic acquisition – i.e. Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE)
    • IR Snap for T1 map generation
  • Fast Spin Echo (FSE), with the following options
    • 2D and 3D
    • Respiration/cardiac triggering
    • Variable echo train length
    • Multi-point fat/water separation

A variety of add-ons for the M-SeriesTM systems expands their capabilities beyond just in vivo MR imaging:

  • SimPETTM is a silicon photo multiplier PET insert designed to integrate with the M7 (mouse and rat) system. It allows both the PET and MR images to be acquired simultaneously, providing powerful insights from both imaging modalities on the specific animal being imaged. The 3D anatomical information obtained from the MR image complements the highly sensitive PET image in detecting functional information or abnormalities and early disease, helping to localize them to a specific tissue.
  • VivoFuseTM is a hardware and software add-on expanding the capabilities of the M-seriesTM systems (either the M3 or M7) to co-register 3D MR images with 3D optical tomographic images (bioluminescence or fluorescence lifetime images) acquired on a third party system. Combined the molecular/functional information obtained from the optical images can be localized to a specific tissue visible on the MR image.
  • MR-based histology is a technique in which very high resolution images are acquired on a fixed ex vivo sample. These 3D whole organ images may be used for toxicology studies to help detect, localize, and quantify lesion number and size. The histology add-on from Aspect Imaging allows for automated high-throughput of a number of samples over a period of time, i.e. overnight. This allows the samples to be imaged without the need for the operator to be present to switch samples upon completion of the previous image. This option is available on both the M3 and the M7 systems.

The M-seriesTM systems come with a standard 1 year warranty, which may be extended up to 5 year.

MR imaging is the gold standard in soft tissue imaging. The M-SeriesTM systems provide 2D and 3D anatomical and morphological images for in vivo assessment of a variety of organs, tissues, and disease states. The use of contrast agents further enhance the functional and/or molecular information obtained from these images. Some specific areas of interest include:

  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic disorders, including diabetes and obesity
  • Developmental Biology
  • Specific organ pathology, i.e. liver, kidney, spleen, etc.
  • Tissue perfusion with contrast agents
  • Targeted molecular imaging with contrast agents
  • Stem cell tracking with contrast agents
The versatility of MR imaging allows tumors to be detected, visualized, and quantified. Tumor models may range from xenografts, orthotopic, or transgenic animal models; the unique characteristics of tumors provide a strong contrast from normal healthy tissue on specific MR images. The M-seriesTM systems, operating at 1T, have been shown by some groups to provide enhanced tumor visualization compared to higher field systems. Contrast agents can be used to provide additional information on tumor perfusion and/or specific molecular targets within each animal model.
Anatomical images may be acquired on the brain and spinal cord. Specific MR images can be acquired to highlight areas of inflammation which are commonly important in neurological disorders, or specific anatomical structures. Contrast agents further enhance the functional and/or molecular information obtained from these images. Some specific areas of interest include:

  • Tumor biology
  • Stroke and inflammation
  • Epilepsy
  • Anatomy
  • Perfusion with contrast agents
  • Targeted molecular imaging with contrast agents
The key sequences on the M-seriesTM systems allow for both cardiac and respiratory gating, allowing for the acquisition of cine images to quantify cardiac function. Images may be acquired in a long axis or short axis orientation with multiple slices used to cover the entire ventricle. Analysis tools may be used to provide measures of cardiac function including:

  • Volume
  • Ejection fraction
  • Fractional shortening
  • Wall thickness

Contrast agents may be used to assess myocardial perfusion, or for Delayed Contrast Enhancement imaging can be performed in which the core infarct and grey zone size is measured to define the area at risk.

Multi-modal images combine MRIs strengths in soft tissue imaging with the additional information obtained with the added imaging modality.

  • PET/MRI
    • The 3D anatomical information obtained from the MR image complements the highly sensitive PET image in detecting functional information or abnormalities and early disease, helping to localize them to a specific tissue.
  • Optical (BLI/FLI) + MRI
    • Co-registered 3D MR images with 3D optical tomographic images (bioluminescence or fluorescence lifetime images) acquired on a third party system combine to allow the molecular/functional information obtained from the optical images to be localized to a specific tissue visible on the MR image.
Pre-clinical ex vivo imaging focuses mostly on MR-based histology. This is a technique in which very high resolution images are acquired on a fixed ex vivo sample. These 3D whole organ images may be used for toxicology studies to help detect, localize, and quantify lesion number and size. The histology add-on from Aspect Imaging allows for automated high-throughput of a number of samples over a period of time, without the need for operator intervention.       
The M-SeriesTM systems operate at a field strength of 1 Tesla (T), this makes them ideally suited for contrast imaging using Gadolinium (Gd) based agents. Numerous groups, including Dr. Silvio Aime’s group at the Molecular Imaging Center at the University of Torino in Italy, have shown the improved sensitivity to Gd contrast agents at 1T when compared to higher field systems. Additionally, iron oxide based contrast agents may also be used on the M-seriesTM systems. 

The M-SeriesTM systems come equipped with a variety of application specific animal handling beds for mice and rats. The handling system has been designed with animal safety and well-being in mind. They include fully integrated inhaled anesthesia delivery nose cones, along with active scavenging of anaesthesia from within the enclosed bore of the magnet. The animal bed is heated to maintain the core body temperature, and the fully integrated physiological monitoring system provides measures of respiration, ECG, and temperature throughout the imaging session. The monitored ECG and respiratory signals may be used for triggering when necessary for specific applications.

For optimized image acquisition the appropriate bed and radio frequency (RF) coil should be selected to fit as tightly to the imaging target as possible. This will provide the best signal to noise ratio, helping to optimize the imaging results. All RF coils include motorized calibration mechanism to enable automatic coil-tuning, again to aid in high quality images.

The following animal handling systems and RF coils are available; the mouse beds/coils are available for either the M3 or M7 systems, while the rat beds/coils are only available for the M7 system:

Type Dimensions Application
Inner Diameter Length
Mouse Head 23 mm 25 mm Neurological imaging in mice
Mouse Body 30 mm 50 mm Extremity, abdominal, and thoracic cavity imaging in mice
Mouse Whole Body 30 mm 80 mm Whole body imaging in mice
Large Mouse Body 38 mm 50 mm Extremity, abdominal and thoracic cavity imaging in large/obese mice
Rat Head 35 mm 40 mm Neurological imaging in rats
Rat Body 50/60 mm ellipsoid 90 mm Extremity, abdominal and thoracic cavity imaging in rats
Large Rat Body 71 mm 90 mm Extremity, abdominal and thoracic cavity imaging in large rats

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The 3D anatomical information obtained from the MR image compliments the highly sensitive PET image in detecting functional information or abnormalities and early disease, helping to localize them to a specific tissue.

Co-registered 3D MR images with 3D optical tomographic images (bioluminescence or fluorescence lifetime images) acquired on a third party system combine to allow the molecular/functional information obtained from the optical images to be localized to a specific tissue visible on the MR image.

Pre-clinical ex vivo imaging focuses mostly on MR-based histology. This is a technique in which very high resolution images are acquired on a fixed ex vivo sample. These 3D whole organ images may be used for toxicology studies to help detect, localize, and quantify lesion number and size. The histology add-on from Aspect Imaging allows for automated high-throughput of a number of samples over a period of time, without the need for operator intervention.

The M-seriesTM systems come equipped with the AMOS Spectrometer, designed and manufactured by Aspect Imaging. It is a highly modular and flexible unit that allows the knowledgeable user to customize the configuration of the system to suit their needs. The AMOS spectrometer utilizes state-of-the-art technologies to provide the highest performance available today.

Optional gradient channels and imaging coils are available for advanced multi-nuclear imaging applications including 13C, 19F, and hyperpolarized 129XE.

When Low Field is Better (1.0T vs. 7T)

The M-SeriesTM compact MRI systems operate at 1 Tesla (T) giving them a key advantage over high-field superconducting MRI systems on the market, namely they have increased sensitivity to gadolinium-based contrast agents.

In a paper by Dr. Silvio Aime’s group at the Centre of Excellence for Molecular Imaging at the University of Turino in Italy entitled “MRI of cells and mice at 1 and 7 Tesla with Gd-targeting agents: when the low field is better!” they concluded that “for slowly moving Gd complexes, it is possible to obtain in vivo sensitivity enhancements at 1T several times higher than that attained at high fields.”

Image Comparison: 1T vs 9.4T

Dr. Ananth Annapragada at Texas Childrens Hospital presented his work comparing data from Aspect Imaging’s 1 Tesla (T) systems to that of a competitor’s high field 9.4T systems at a recent Human Placenta Project meeting at the NIH.

He showed the exquisite detail which was obtained on the M-SeriesTM systems. Explaining that for certain experiments higher field systems are not necessary.

To watch a focused segment of the presentation :

To watch the full NIS session: