Purpose: To design a fluorine MRI/MR spectroscopy approach to quantify renal vascular damage after ischemia-reperfusion injury, and the therapeutic response to antithrombin nanoparticles (NPs) to protect kidney function. Methods: A total of 53 rats underwent 45 min of bilateral renal artery occlusion and were treated at reperfusion with either plain perfluorocarbon NPs or NPs functionalized with a direct thrombin inhibitor (PPACK:phenyalanine-proline-arginine-chloromethylketone). Three hours after reperfusion, kidneys underwent ex vivo fluorine MRI/MR spectroscopy at 4.7 T to quantify the extent and volume of trapped NPs, as an index of vascular damage and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Microscopic evaluation of structural damage and NP trapping in non-reperfused renal segments was performed. Serum creatinine was quantified serially over 7 days. Results: The damaged renal cortico-medullary junction trapped a significant volume of NPs (P = 0.04), which correlated linearly (r = 0.64) with the severity of kidney injury 3 h after reperfusion. Despite global large vessel reperfusion, non-reperfusion in medullary peritubular capillaries was confirmed by MRI and microscopy, indicative of continuing hypoxia due to vascular compromise. Treatment of animals with PPACK NPs after acute kidney injury did not accelerate kidney functional recovery. Conclusions: Quantification of ischemia-reperfusion injury after acute kidney injury with fluorine MRI/MR spectroscopy of perfluorocarbon NPs objectively depicts the extent and severity of vascular injury and its linear relationship to renal dysfunction. The lack of kidney function improvement after early posttreatment thrombin inhibition confirms the rapid onset of ischemia-reperfusion injury as a consequence of vascular damage and non-reperfusion. The prolongation of medullary ischemia renders cortico-medullary tubular structures susceptible to continued necrosis despite restoration of large vessel flow, which suggests limitations to acute interventions after acute kidney injury, designed to interdict renal tubular damage. Magn Reson Med 79:3144–3153, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3144-3153
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • AKI
  • fluorine MRI
  • ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • nanoparticles
  • vascular damage


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