How fat are your lab mice?

These are representative CT images of a mouse segmented for fat. Credit: © Journal of Visualized Experiments

Researchers are increasingly aware that fat in some parts of the body is more harmful than fat in other places. To help determine how obesity works, scientists turn to animal models and now, they are able to visualize how much fat their lab rats are carrying and where they are storing it. The method will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).

"One of the key benefits of this technique versus existing methods, like ex vivo analysis, is that this technique allows for non-invasive and longitudinal assessment of fat in small animal ," said paper-author Dr. Todd Sasser.

Traditionally, researchers have had to use either , which provide more insight into where fat is being stored specifically but result in the death of the mouse, or less specific, non-invasive imaging techniques. Here, they use dedicated small animal X-ray computed tomography (CT) and customized analytics to see how the fat is distributed inside the animal.

The process is highly visual, resulting in three-dimensional images of the fat within the mouse, which is why the researchers chose to publish their method in JoVE, the only peer reviewed, PubMed-indexed science journal to publish all of its content in both text and video format.

"Generally, individuals new to this method will struggle, because the segmentation and visualization protocol includes several steps that must be completed in succession," said co-author Sarah Chapman, from the University of Notre Dame.

"As obesity and obesity-related illnesses continue to grow into worldwide problems, it is important to understand their fundamental causes and potential interventions," said JoVE Science Editor, Dr. Charlotte Frank Sage. "This technique details imaging and that enables researchers to longitudinally and quantitatively study adipose content at a high level of detail."

More information: The article will be published on April 4, and can be found here: www.jove.com/video/3680/segmen… -computed-tomography

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New 3-D stem cell culture method published

Mar 02, 2012

Stem cells are the body's mechanics, repairing damaged tissues and organs. Because these cells are able to grow into any type of cell in the body, scientists believe they hold the key to groundbreaking new ...

Opening the brain to new treatments

Mar 13, 2012

One of the trickiest parts of treating brain conditions is the blood brain barrier, a blockade of cells that prevent both harmful toxins and helpful pharmaceuticals from getting to the body's control center. ...

Newly identified cells make fat

Oct 04, 2008

To understand where fat comes from, you have to start with a skinny mouse. By using such a creature, and observing the growth of fat after injections of different kinds of immature cells, scientists at the ...

Researchers quantify muscle soreness

Jan 23, 2012

Quantifying how sore a person is after a long workout is a challenge for doctors and researchers, but scientists from Loma Linda and Asuza Pacific Universities think they may have figured it out. Their research ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

17 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

20 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments