Magnetic resonance imaging


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the most performant imaging techniques for clinical radiology and it is also largely used in scientific research because of the detailed and thorough information it can generate. Images can be obtained in vivo or ex vivo with very high spatial and temporal resolution.

MRI relies on nuclear magnetic resonance, a phenomenon in which certain atomic nuclei (including that of hydrogen 1H), when placed in a strong magnetic field, absorb and re-emit electromagnetic wave at a specific (“resonance”) radio frequency. It is possible to get different contrasts, which will reflect the different molecular environments of the observed atom.

Image quality and information content can be increased by the administration of specific contrast agents that will allow, for instance, a more effective detection of tumors or metastases. MRI can also be used in other biomedical applications, such as angiography (imaging of blood vessels), functional imaging (e.g. brain activation territories), cellular and molecular imaging, and spectroscopy (simultaneous imaging and biochemical analysis of specific molecules or cell types). The development of specific contrast agents is carried out in collaboration with the Department of General, Organic and Biomedical Chemistry of the Université de Mons.


  • MRI at a magnetic field of 9.4 T
  • Anatomical, dynamic, functional and molecular applications
  • 2D multiple slices or whole 3D volume imaging.
  • Very high spatial resolution can be reached (50 µm).
  • Experiments are performed mainly on mice and rats.
  • Other samples or organisms can be imaged (size must be comparable to that of above-mentioned rodents).
  • Systems for anesthetizing (isoflurane), warming and monitoring the animal are available.
  • Contrast agents can be injected without modifying the animal position.


9.4 T Bruker Biospec

This equipement was acquired partially with a grant from the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS).

Selected Publications

1)      M. Dentamaro, F. Lux, L. Vander Elst, N. Dauguet, S. Montante, A. Moussaron, C. Burtea, R.N. Muller, O. Tillement,S. Laurent, « Chemical and in vitro characterizations of a promising bimodal AGuIX probe able to target apoptotic cells for applications in MRI and optical imaging”, Contrast Media & Mol Imaging, 11, 381–395 (2016)

2)      S. Laurent, S. Boutry, L. Vander Elst, R.N. Muller, « Produits de contraste en imagerie par résonance magnétique », EMC – Radiologie et imagerie médicale – principes et technique – radioprotection,, (2016)

3)      Sclavons, S. Boutry, S. Laurent, L. Vander Elst, R.N. Muller, “Targeting of cell death and neuroinflammation with peptide-linked iron oxide nanoparticles and Gd-DTPA in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease”, 2 (1) (2016), DOI: 10.5430/jbei.v2n1P13

4)      S. Laurent, D. Stanicki, S. Boutry, J.C. Roy, L. Vander Elst, R.N. Muller, “ Development of a New Molecular Probe for the Detection of Inflammatory Process”, J Mol Biol & Mol Imaging, 2(1), id1013, 4 pages (2015).

5)      Stanicki, S. Boutry, S. Laurent, L. Wacheul, E. Nicolas, D. Crombez, L. Vander Elst, D.L.J. Lafontaine, R.N. Muller, “Carboxy-silane coated iron oxide nanoparticles: a convenient platform for cellular and small animal imaging”, J. Mater. Chem. B, 2(4), 387-397 (2014)

6)      J.-L. Bridot,D. Stanicki,S. Laurent, S. Boutry,Y. Gossuin, P. Leclère, R. Lazzaroni, L. Vander Elst, R.N. Muller, “New carboxysilane coated iron oxide nanoparticles for non-specific cell labelling”, Contrast Med. Mol. Imaging, 8(6), 466–474,(2013)

7)      Boutry SLaurent SElst LVMuller RN. “Specific E-selectin targeting with a superparamagnetic MRI contrast agent.” Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2006 Jan-Feb;1(1):15-22

8)      Boutry S, Burtea C, Laurent S, Toubeau G, Vander Elst L, Muller RN, “Magnetic resonance imaging of inflammation with a specific selectin-targeted contrast agent.” Magn Reson Med. 2005 Apr;53(4):800-7.


Magnetic resonance imaging