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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Urology 1/2015

Quantitative volumetric imaging of normal, neoplastic and hyperplastic mouse prostate using ultrasound

BMC Urology > Ausgabe 1/2015
Shalini Singh, Chunliu Pan, Ronald Wood, Chiuan-Ren Yeh, Shuyuan Yeh, Kai Sha, John J. Krolewski, Kent L. Nastiuk
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The author declares that there is no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

SS participated in the design of the study, manipulated and imaged the mice, evaluated the images, and performed the analysis. CP evaluated images. RW optimized imaging parameters and developed 3D reconstruction protocols. C-RY developed xenograft protocols. C-RY and KS manipulated mice. SS and CP drafted the manuscript and figures. RW and SY critically reviewed the manuscript. KLN blinded all data and served as the honest broker. JJK and KLN conceived of the study, participated in its coordination, and finalized the manuscript and figures. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Availability of data and materials

Not applicable.



Genetically engineered mouse models are essential to the investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying human prostate pathology and the effects of therapy on the diseased prostate. Serial in vivo volumetric imaging expands the scope and accuracy of experimental investigations of models of normal prostate physiology, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer, which are otherwise limited by the anatomy of the mouse prostate. Moreover, accurate imaging of hyperplastic and tumorigenic prostates is now recognized as essential to rigorous pre-clinical trials of new therapies. Bioluminescent imaging has been widely used to determine prostate tumor size, but is semi-quantitative at best. Magnetic resonance imaging can determine prostate volume very accurately, but is expensive and has low throughput. We therefore sought to develop and implement a high throughput, low cost, and accurate serial imaging protocol for the mouse prostate.


We developed a high frequency ultrasound imaging technique employing 3D reconstruction that allows rapid and precise assessment of mouse prostate volume. Wild-type mouse prostates were examined (n = 4) for reproducible baseline imaging, and treatment effects on volume were compared, and blinded data analyzed for intra- and inter-operator assessments of reproducibility by correlation and for Bland-Altman analysis. Examples of benign prostatic hyperplasia mouse model prostate (n = 2) and mouse prostate implantation of orthotopic human prostate cancer tumor and its growth (n = 6) are also demonstrated.


Serial measurement volume of the mouse prostate revealed that high frequency ultrasound was very precise. Following endocrine manipulation, regression and regrowth of the prostate could be monitored with very low intra- and interobserver variability. This technique was also valuable to monitor the development of prostate growth in a model of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Additionally, we demonstrate accurate ultrasound image-guided implantation of orthotopic tumor xenografts and monitoring of subsequent tumor growth from ~10 to ~750 mm3 volume.


High frequency ultrasound imaging allows precise determination of normal, neoplastic and hyperplastic mouse prostate. Low cost and small image size allows incorporation of this imaging modality inside clean animal facilities, and thereby imaging of immunocompromised models. 3D reconstruction for volume determination is easily mastered, and both small and large relative changes in volume are accurately visualized. Ultrasound imaging does not rely on penetration of exogenous imaging agents, and so may therefore better measure poorly vascularized or necrotic diseased tissue, relative to bioluminescent imaging (IVIS).


Our method is precise and reproducible with very low inter- and intra-observer variability. Because it is non-invasive, mouse models of prostatic disease states can be imaged serially, reducing inter-animal variability, and enhancing the power to detect small volume changes following therapeutic intervention.
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