Murine left atrium and left atrial appendage structure and function: Echocardiographic and morphologic evaluation

Francesca Colazzo, Laura Castiglioni, Luigi Sironi, Lucia Fontana, Elena Nobili, Matteo Franzosi, Uliano Guerrini

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Aim of this study was to provide an echocardiographic protocol for the description of the normal murine venous reservoir (atrium, appendage and pulmonary veins) and to investigate the possibility to use this approach to discriminate changes on left atrium (LA) and left atrial appendage (LAA) in a stress-induced model such us myocardial infarction. Global left ventricular function and the venous reservoir were assessed by a Vevo2100 in 20 female C57BL/6N. LA and LAA were also studied in 10 CD-1 and 10 FVB mice, whereas modifications investigated in 15 C57BL/6N subjected to coronary artery ligation. Left ventricle function was evaluated as well as pulsed Doppler mitral valve, pulmonary vein, and LAA velocities. From 2D view monoplane LA volumes were obtained and LAA long axis measured. Macroscopic inspection with casts and immunohistochemistry were performed. Results show that compared to humans, in C57BL/6N mice left atrium was disproportionately smaller (5.2±1.4μL) than the left ventricle (53±8μL) and connected through a duct by a large LAA and posteriorly to three pulmonary veins. The LA volume increased 2-fold during reservoir with two distinct phases, early and late divided by a short pause. LAA long axis (4.1 ±0.5mm) was almost 2 times longer than the LA. LAA flow volume together with LA volume reservoir account for about 36% of stroke volume and the rest was provided by conduit flow. Linear regressions showed that stroke volume was strongly influenced by LAA flow, LA early filling volume and left ventricle base descent. Moreover, we also report the ability to assess LA and LAA in other mice strains and discriminate size increase following myocardial infarction. In conclusion, we performed a complete characterization of murine left venous reservoir establishing an optimized protocol that can be used in both investigative and pharmacological studies requiring rapid and serial determination of cardiac structure and function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0125541
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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