Purpose: To develop and evaluate a technique for imaging electrical properties ((EPs), conductivity and permittivity) of an animal tumor model in vivo using MRI. Methods: Electrical properties were reconstructed from the calculated EP gradient, which was derived using two sets of measured transmit B1 magnitude and relative phase maps with the sample and radiofrequency (RF) coil oriented in the positive and negative z-directions, respectively. An eight-channel transceiver microstrip array RF coil fitting the size of the animal was developed for generating and mapping B1 fields to reconstruct EPs. The technique was evaluated at 7 tesla using a physical phantom and in vivo on two Copenhagen rats with subcutaneously implanted AT-1 rat prostate cancer on a hind limb. Results: The reconstructed EPs in the phantom experiment was in good agreement with the target EP map determined by a dielectric probe. Reconstructed conductivity map of the animals revealed the boundary between tumor and healthy tissue consistent with the boundary indicated by T1-weighted MRI. Conclusion: A technique for imaging EP of an animal tumor model using MRI has been developed with high sensitivity, accuracy, and resolution, as demonstrated in the phantom experiment. Further animal experiments are needed to demonstrate its translational value for tumor diagnosis. Magn Reson Med 78:2157–2169, 2017.
- RF coil
- animal model
- electrical properties tomography
- tumor imaging