Nanoparticle Contrast-enhanced MRI for Visualization of Retroplacental Clear Space Disruption in a Mouse Model of Placental Accreta Spectrum (PAS)

Andrew A. Badachhape, Prajwal Bhandari, Laxman Devkota, Mayank Srivastava, Eric A. Tanifum, Verghese George, Karin A. Fox, Chandrasekhar Yallampalli, Ananth V. Annapragada, Ketan B. Ghaghada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Prior preclinical studies established the utility of liposomal nanoparticle blood-pool contrast agents in visualizing the retroplacental clear space (RPCS), a marker of normal placentation, while sparing fetuses from exposure because the agent does not cross the placental barrier. In this work, we characterized RPCS disruption in a mouse model of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) using these agents. Materials and Methods: Contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) and computed tomography (CE-CT) using liposomal nanoparticles bearing gadolinium (liposomal-Gd) and iodine were performed in pregnant Gab3–/– and wild type (WT) mice at day 16 of gestation. CE-MRI was performed on a 1T scanner using a 2D T1-weighted sequence (100×100×600 µm3 voxels) and CE-CT was performed at a higher resolution (70×70×70 µm3 voxels). Animals were euthanized post-imaging and feto-placental units (FPUs) were harvested for histological examination. RPCS conspicuity was scored through blinded assessment of images. Results: Pregnant Gab3–/– mice showed elevated rates of complicated pregnancy. Contrast-enhanced imaging demonstrated frank infiltration of the RPCS of Gab3–/– FPUs. RPCS in Gab3–/– FPUs was smaller in volume, demonstrated a heterogeneous signal profile, and received lower conspicuity scores than WT FPUs. Histology confirmed in vivo findings and demonstrated staining consistent with a thinner RPCS in Gab3–/– FPUs. Discussion: Imaging of the Gab3–/– mouse model at late gestation with liposomal contrast agents enabled in vivo characterization of morphological differences in the RPCS that could cause the observed pregnancy complications. An MRI-based method for visualizing the RPCS would be valuable for early detection of invasive placentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1384-1391
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Placenta accreta spectrum
  • accreta
  • blood pool contrast agent
  • gadolinium
  • liposome
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • nanoparticle
  • retroplacental space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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