Facility for analysis of mouse cardiovascular phenotype

The Molecular Biotechnology Center provides a service for the cardiovascular characterization of murine models. The service is available to researchers of University of Turin, and upon agreement, to external investigators. B-mode and M-Mode echocardiography and Echo Color Doppler services are provided for the analysis of systolic, diastolic and valve function. A fee is charged for the service, including echocardiographic measurements and post-acquisition data analysis. Instruments have been acquired with the support of Regione Piemonte.


Services provided:


    Echocardiogram and Echo Color Doppler

    Also known as cardiac ultrasound, this analysis is used to obtain bi-dimensional images of the heart. In addition to the creation of bi-dimensional images of the cardiovascular system, the echocardiogram can provide an accurate assessment of cardiac tissue blood flow by pulsed or continuous Doppler ultrasound. This allows to monitor the area and function of cardiac valves, eventually abnormal communications between the right and the left chamber of the heart, valvular regurgitation, as well as the measurement of Ejection Fraction (EF) and Fractional Shortening (FS).


    Systolic function and Morphometric parameters:

    • Intraventricular Septum Thickness in diastole and systole: IVSTd/IVSTs;
    • Left Ventricular Internal Diameter in diastole and systole: LVIDd/LVIDs
    • Left Ventricular Posterior Wall Thickness in diastole and systole: LVPWTd/LVPWTs
    • Ejection Fraction and Fractional Shortening: EF and FS
    • Left Ventricular Mass: LV Mass and corrected LV Mass
    • Left Ventricular Volume in diastole and systole: LV Vol d/LV Vol s

    Diastolic function

    • Atrial component of diastolic filling (transmitral flow) MV A
    • Early component of diastolic filling (transmitral flow) MV E
    • Atrial and systolic tissue myocardial flow velocity: A' e E'
    • Ratio: A'/E' and E'/A'
    • Atrial contribution to ventricular filling: MV E/A
    • Ratio between early component of diastolic filling and early transmitral tissue flow velocity: MV E/E'
    • Aortic Ejection Time: AET
    • Isovolumetric Contraction Time: IVCT
    • Isovolumetric Relaxing Time: IVRT
    • Left Ventricular Myocardial Performance Index: LV MPI IV
    • Transmitral wave deceleration time: MV DT
    • Mitral Valve Area: MV Area (simplified)
    • Transmitral Pressure Gradient: MV PHT (simplified)


    Right ventricle and pulmonary valve function

    • Pulmonary Acceleration Time: PAT
    • Pulmonary Ejection Time: PET
    • Right Ventricular Outflow Tract: RVOT
    • Right Ventricular Outflow Tract (Velocity/Time Integral): RVOT VTI
    • Mean pulmonary arterial pressure: MPAP (common) and MPAP (PAT < 120 ms)
    • Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Cardiac Output: RVOT CO
    • Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Stroke Volume: RVOT SV


    Aortic Valve Flow

    • Aortic Valve Peak Velocity: AV Peak Vel
    • Left Ventricular Outflow Tract: LVOT
    • Left Ventricular Outflow Tract (Velocity/Time Integral): LVOT VTI
    • Aortic Valve Peak Pressure: AV Peak Pressure
    • Aortic Valve Area: AVA


    Tricuspid Valve Flow

    • Atrial component of diastolic filling (Tricuspid Valve Flow): TV A
    • Early component of diastolic filling (Tricuspid Valve Flow): TV E
    • Ratio: TV E/A


    Cardiac Output

    • Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Cardiac Output: LVOT CO
    • Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Stroke Volume: LVOT SV
    Transverse Aortic Constriction (TAC)
    Transverse Aortic Constriction (TAC) is one of the most commonly used surgical procedures to induce and study the development of left ventricular hypertrophy in response to mechanical stress.


    Cardiotoxicity models induced by chemotherapy drugs

    Some chemotherapeutic drugs, especially anthracyclines, display important cardiotoxic effects. The Facility provides assistance in the experimental design of studies of chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity (both acute and chronic protocols).

    Subcutaneous implantation of osmotic pumps

    The osmotic minipump (provided by Alzet, Charles Rivers, available with different volumes) is based on the use of a piston, powered by osmotic pressure, that releases drugs at controlled rates and pronged time. The mini-pump can be used for administration of drugs, such as β-adrenergic agonists, for the induction and evaluation of cardiac hypertrophy.



    • Visual Sonics Vevo 2100 High Resolution Imaging System

    Technical specifications:

    • High-resolution (30 micron) and image uniformity in the acquisition field
    • Frame rates up to 740 fps
    • Pulsed Wave Color Doppler Mode for blood flow and cardiac valve characterization
    • M-Mode acquisitions for high-resolution analysis of left ventricular systolic function in real-time
    • B-Mode acquisitions for internal organ anatomical evaluation
    • Strain acquisition
    • Real-time monitoring of physiological parameters (body temperature, breathing, heartbeat)

    Software for analysis and data management:

    • Image analysis, annotations and displays in real-time
    • Image exporting with or without annotation in TIFF, BMP, AVI, MS, Video9 and DICOM format
    • Vevo anesthesia system (Suitable for Isoflurane)
    • Animal handling table with controlled temperature
    • Osmotic mini-pumps for drug infusion (Alzet)
    • Autoclave for instruments sterilization
    Relevant publications
    • Li M, Sala V, De Santis MC, Cimino J, Cappello P, Pianca N, Di Bona A, Margaria JP, Martini M, Lazzarini E, Pirozzi F, Rossi L, Franco I, Bornbaum J, Heger J, Rohrbach S, Perino A, Tocchetti CG, Lima BHF, Teixeira MM, Porporato PE, Schulz R, Angelini A, Sandri M, Ameri P, Sciarretta S, Lima-Júnior RCP, Mongillo M, Zaglia T, Morello F, Novelli F, Hirsch E, Ghigo A. Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Gamma Inhibition Protects From Anthracycline Cardiotoxicity and Reduces Tumor Growth. Circulation. 2018 Aug 14;138(7):696-711.
    • Ingoglia G, Sag CM, Rex N, De Franceschi L, Vinchi F, Cimino J, Petrillo S, Wagner S, Kreitmeier K, Silengo L, Altruda F, Maier LS, Hirsch E, Ghigo A, Tolosano E. Hemopexin counteracts systolic dysfunction induced by heme-driven oxidative stress. Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 Jul;108:452-464.
    • Kalish BT, Matte A, Andolfo I, Iolascon A, Weinberg O, Ghigo A, Cimino J, Siciliano A, Hirsch E, Federti E, Puder M, Brugnara C, De Franceschi L. Dietary ω-3 fatty acids protect against vasculopathy in a transgenic mouse model of sickle cell disease. Haematologica. 2015 Jul;100(7):870-80.
    • Vinchi F, De Franceschi L, Ghigo A, Townes T, Cimino J, Silengo L, Hirsch E, Altruda F, Tolosano E. Hemopexin therapy improves cardiovascular function by preventing heme-induced endothelial toxicity in mouse models of hemolytic diseases. Circulation. 2013 Mar 26;127(12):1317-29.
    • Ghigo A, Perino A, Mehel H, Zahradníková A Jr, Morello F, Leroy J, Nikolaev VO, Damilano F, Cimino J, De Luca E, Richter W, Westenbroek R, Catterall WA, Zhang J, Yan C, Conti M, Gomez AM, Vandecasteele G, Hirsch E, Fischmeister R. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ protects against catecholamine-induced ventricular arrhythmia through protein kinase A-mediated regulation of distinct phosphodiesterases. Circulation. 2012 Oct 23;126(17):2073-83.
    Services and Assistance
    • Consultation in experimental design
    • Technical assistance
    • Images analysis and quantitative data analysis
    • Offline data analysis
    • Images exporting with or without annotation in TIFF, BMP, AVI, MS, Video9 and DICOM format
    Access and tariffs

    The service is available to researchers of University of Turin, and upon agreement, to external investigators. Fees are discussed with users upon specific request.

    Contact person

    Contact person: