Quantitative MRI of organspecific vascular permeability and immune cell dynamics by combination with mass spectrometric imaging

Principal investigators: Cornelius Faber, Uwe Karst
Project number: CRC 1450 B02
Project term: 01/2021–12/2024

Graphical abstract
© CRC inSight

The aim of this project is to develop combined in vivo MRI and ex vivo mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) methods including both, laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry imaging (LA-ICP-MSI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) (1). MSI shall be used to develop fully quantitative MRI methods (2) as part of our comprehensive multiscale imaging strategy (2, 3, 4) to analyse immune responses in disease models and patients in vivo (5).

The overarching question is how quantitative MR parameters depend on elemental and molecular patterns in tissues, and how this dependence evolves during inflammatory responses (6).

A thin tissue section of a mouse brain with a tumour. Left: Image showing autofluorescence using light microscopy. Right: Distribution of an MRI contrast agent based on the metal gadolinium (concentration increased in the tumour region, green to red), acquired through mass spectrometry – this method provides quantitative information about the contrast agent distribution by detecting the mass of gadolinium. We compare the spatial and temporal distribution of the MRI contrast agent with that of a simultaneously applied and structurally similar PET radiotracer (analysed using autoradiography, not shown). Thereby, we aim to validate newly developed mathematical models for processing dynamic PET-MRI imaging data. (Collaboration of projects B02 and B06)
© Katharina Kronenberg/Uwe Karst's research group, samples provided by Florian Gierse/Philipp Backhaus's research team


Principal investigators

Project members


The names of the principal investigators in our network have been bolded. Publications released prior to 2021, when funding for our network commenced, represent previous project-related work.


Schwarz C, Buchholz R, Jawad M, Hoesker V, Terwesten-Sole C, Karst U, Linsen L, Vogl T, Hoerr V, Wildgruber M, Faber C. Fingerprints of Element Concentrations in Infective Endocarditis Obtained by Mass Spectrometric Imaging and t-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding. ACS Infect Dis 2022Abstract


Masthoff M, Freppon FN, Zondler L, Wilken E, Wachsmuth L, Niemann S, Schwarz C, Fredrich I, Havlas A, Block H, Gerwing M, Helfen A, Heindel W, Zarbock A, Wildgruber M, Faber C. Resolving immune cells with patrolling behaviour by magnetic resonance time-lapse single cell tracking. EBioMedicine 2021;73: 103670. Abstract


Masthoff M, Buchholz R, Beuker A, Wachsmuth L, Kraupner A, Albers F, Freppon F, Helfen A, Gerwing M, Holtke C, Hansen U, Rehkamper J, Vielhaber T, Heindel W, Eisenblatter M, Karst U, Wildgruber M, Faber C. Introducing Specificity to Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Imaging by Combining (57)Fe-Based MRI and Mass Spectrometry. Nano Lett 2019;19: 7908-7917. Abstract


Fingerhut S, Sperling M, Holling M, Niederstadt T, Allkemper T, Radbruch A, Heindel W, Paulus W, Jeibmann A, Karst U. Gadolinium-based contrast agents induce gadolinium deposits in cerebral vessel walls, while the neuropil is not affected: an autopsy study. Acta Neuropathol 2018;136: 127-138. Abstract
Kroger S, Niehoff A-C, Jeibmann A, Sperling M, Paulus W, Stummer W, Karst U. Complementary Molecular and Elemental Mass-Spectrometric Imaging of Human Brain Tumors Resected by Fluorescence-Guided Surgery. Anal Chem 2018;90: 12253-12260. Abstract
Lohofer F, Hoffmann L, Buchholz R, Huber K, Glinzer A, Kosanke K, Feuchtinger A, Aichler M, Feuerecker B, Kaissis G, Rummeny EJ, Holtke C, Faber C, Schilling F, Botnar RM, Walch AK, Karst U, Wildgruber M. Molecular imaging of myocardial infarction with Gadofluorine P - A combined magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry imaging approach. Heliyon 2018;4: e00606. Abstract
Masthoff M, Gran S, Zhang X, Wachsmuth L, Bietenbeck M, Helfen A, Heindel W, Sorokin L, Roth J, Eisenblatter M, Wildgruber M, Faber C. Temporal window for detection of inflammatory disease using dynamic cell tracking with time-lapse MRI. Sci Rep 2018;8: 9563. Abstract


Niehoff A-C, Klasen T, Schmidt R, Palmes D, Faber C, Karst U, Hadrian R. Investigating the Lymphatic System by Dual-Color Elemental Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Contrast Media Mol Imaging 2017;2017: 4035721. Abstract


Niehoff  A-C, Wachsmuth L, Schmid F, Sperling M, Faber C, Karst U. Quantification of Manganese Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging based on Spatially Resolved Elemental Mass Spectrometry. ChemistrySelect 2016;1: 264-266. Abstract


Birka M, Wentker KS, Lusmoller E, Arheilger B, Wehe CA, Sperling M, Stadler R, Karst U. Diagnosis of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis by means of elemental bioimaging and speciation analysis. Anal Chem 2015;87: 3321-3328. Abstract
Reifschneider O, Wentker KS, Strobel K, Schmidt R, Masthoff M, Sperling M, Faber C, Karst U. Elemental bioimaging of thulium in mouse tissues by laser ablation-ICPMS as a complementary method to heteronuclear proton magnetic resonance imaging for cell tracking experiments. Anal Chem 2015;87: 4225-4230. Abstract


Schmidt R, Nippe N, Strobel K, Masthoff M, Reifschneider O, Castelli DD, Holtke C, Aime S, Karst U, Sunderkotter C, Bremer C, Faber C. Highly Shifted Proton MR Imaging: Cell Tracking by Using Direct Detection of Paramagnetic Compounds. Radiology 2014;272: 785-795. Abstract