Supplementary Material for: The MRI Sepsis Score: An Innovative Tool for the Evaluation of Septic Peritonitis in Mice Using 7-Tesla Small Animal MRI

<b><i>Background:</i></b> Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques are rarely used in the context of abdominal sepsis and in sepsis research. This study investigates the impact of MRI for monitoring septic peritonitis in an animal model (colon ascendens stent-induced peritonitis, CASP). The CASP model closely mimics that of human disease and is highly standardized. The most frequently employed readout parameter in mouse CASP studies is prolonged or decreased rate of survival. Monitoring the progression of peritonitis via MRI could provide a helpful tool in the evaluation of severity. The use of alternative readout systems could very well reduce the number of research animals. Perspectively, clinical improvement after certain treatment could be classified. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> This study describes for the first time MRI findings following the induction of septic peritonitis in mice using the CASP model. Two sublethal groups of mice with septic peritonitis were investigated. Each had received one of two differing stent diameters in order to control the leakage of feces into the abdominal cavity. Each mouse served as its own control. Imaging and analyses were performed blinded. Gut diameters, stomach volume, abdominal organ wall diameters, and volume of the adrenal glands were measured. Serum corticosterone levels were detected using ELISA. Serum IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-10 levels were screened by cytometric bead array. Statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney U test for nonparametric probes and the Kruskal-Wallis and <i>t</i> tests. <b><i>Results:</i></b> Using a 7-tesla MRI scanner 24 and 48 h after induction of septic peritonitis, interenteric fluid, organ swelling of spleen and adrenal glands, as well as dilatation of the stomach were compared to nonseptic conditions. Swelling of adrenal glands resulted in an increased serum corticosterone level. In addition, the wall of the intestine bowel was thickened. Based upon these findings, an MRI score (MRI sepsis score, MSS) for abdominal sepsis in mice was established. Reduced stent sizes led to reduced severity of the abdominal sepsis, which could be reproduced in the MSS, which is described here for the first time. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> Intraabdominal variations during septic peritonitis are detectable by MRI techniques. MRI methods should become a more important tool for the evaluation of abdominal peritonitis. MSS could provide an interesting tool for the evaluation of therapeutic strategies.