Purpose The maternal microvasculature of the primate placenta is organized into 10-20 perfusion domains that are functionally optimized to facilitate nutrient exchange to support fetal growth. This study describes a dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging method for identifying vascular domains and quantifying maternal blood flow in them. Methods A rhesus macaque on the 133rd day of pregnancy (G133, term=165 days) underwent Doppler ultrasound procedures, dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and Cesarean-section delivery. Serial T1-weighted images acquired throughout intravenous injection of a contrast reagent bolus were analyzed to obtain contrast reagent arrival time maps of the placenta. Results Watershed segmentation of the arrival time map identified 16 perfusion domains. The number and location of these domains corresponded to anatomical cotyledonary units observed following delivery. Analysis of the contrast reagent wave front through each perfusion domain enabled determination of volumetric flow, which ranged from 9.03 to 44.9 mL/s (25.2±10.3 mL/s). These estimates are supported by Doppler ultrasound results. Conclusions The dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging analysis described here provides quantitative estimates of the number of maternal perfusion domains in a primate placenta and estimates flow within each domain. Anticipated extensions of this technique are to the study placental function in non-human primate models of obstetric complications.
- blood flow
- fetal growth
- magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging