Quantitation of galactosemic cataracts in dogs using magnetization transfer contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Martin J. Lizak, K. Mori, Toni L. Ceckler, Robert S. Balaban, Peter F. Kador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming increasingly important for the diagnosis and characterization of ocular pathologies. A drawback to this technique is that image contrast between different regions of tissue can be obscured because of the similarity of their nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation parameters. This problem is addressed by magnetization transfer contrast (MTC) enhancement, a MRI technique that generates high- contrast images based on characteristic tissue differences resulting from the interaction of water and macromolecules. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using MTC-enhanced imaging to monitor quantitatively the lens changes associated with sugar cataract formation in galactose-fed dogs. Methods. Male beagles fed a diet containing 30% galactose were periodically examined by MRI for changes in tissue character. Each examination included a gradient recalled echo image (M0), an MTC-enhanced gradient recalled echo (M(s)), a T1 image determined from a one-shot T1 imaging sequence, and a T1-weighted image taken from the raw T1 data. Average values were obtained for several regions of interest and tabulated. These were correlated with cataractous stages visually observed by slit lamp biomicroscopy and retroillumination photography. Results. Enhanced image details of the lens and anterior segment that documented osmotic changes from initial cortical vacuole formation to cortical and nuclear changes associated with advanced sugar cataracts were characterized from measurements of parameters obtained from M0, M(s), T1-weighted, and T1 images. Changes in the cross-sectional areas of lenses during sugar cataract formation also were documented. The magnetic resonance images showed visible changes from the onset of cortical vacuole formation. Region of interest (ROI) analysis of the images showed tissue changes occurring throughout the cataract progression. Conclusions. The MTC-enhanced MRI technique is well suited to detecting lens changes associated with cataractogenesis. All but the earliest changes were readily apparent from the images with no further analysis. Graphic ROI analysis was able to detect regional changes associated the cataract progression for all degrees of severity. Furthermore, the images demonstrated changes in size and shape that would not be detectable by visual inspection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2219-2227
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • cataract
  • dog
  • lens
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • magnetization transfer contrast (MTC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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