Pre-clinical imaging

Louise van der Weerd, Marjolein Bulk, Whitney Freeze, Boyd Kenkhuis, Bauke Kogelman, Tom Metz, Leon Munting, Sanny Scheffer, Ernst Suidgeest

In vivo imaging allows us to study biological systems and animals non-invasively. Longitudinal imaging allows us to monitor time courses or treatment response within the same animal, thus improving the reliability of the experiment and reducing the number of animals needed. Our group uses a range of state-of-the-art imaging systems, including MRI, CT, SPECT and optical systems to develop techniques to visualise the anatomy of the rodent body, function of specific organs or image specific cellular and molecular targets.

Research aims

  1. To assess the vascular, inflammatory and degenerative changes caused by neurodegenerative diseases, such as HCHWA-D, Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease. This research line requires the development of novel imaging techniques, based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and multi-photon microscopy to measure the pathological changes over time in vivo. Translations are made to in vivo and post mortem human patient research, particularly in a rare hereditary form of amyloid accumulation called HCHWA-D (see also Thijs van Osch).
  2. Susceptibility-based MRI (SWI) and quantitative susceptility mapping (QSM). These techniques are particularly suitable for high-field MRI, with tissue iron and myelin, and neuroinflammation, as the main sources of underlying contrast. The focus of our research is the pathological substrate of observed MRI changes, and the potential of these techniques to study the role of iron accumulation in (aberrant) myelination, neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. This research involves a close link with the Netherlands Brain Bank (NHB).
  3. To facilitate the use of the pre-clinical imaging facility by researchers from LUMC and outside.    


Brain perfusion changes due to vascular reactivity to a CO2 challenge

Multi-photon microscopy: full 3D image of the brain vasculature