Cardiovascular Imaging // Science

Our research goal is to develop MRI contrasts based on current needs. Main applications area is in cardiovascular diseases and more closely to detect cardiovascular pathologies and to follow up therapy responses.

Research Tools

Biomedical Imaging Unit of A.I.Virtanen Institute houses three experimental MRI scanners, one 7 T (bore diameter 16 cm), 9.4 T (30 cm) and 9.4 T (9 cm). Unit exploits a full range of different MRI techniques, including quantitative relaxation measurements (T1, T2, T1rho, T2rho, RAFFn), ultrashort TE experiments, diffusion tensor quantification, functional and pharmacological MRI with simultaneous electrical measurements, in vivo spectroscopy (1H and 31P) etc.

In collaboration with other research groups at A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, we exploit several experimental models of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarct and skeletal muscle ischemia, several neurological diseases, and ability to compare MRI findings with different physiological and histological endpoint measures.


  • Rotating frame relaxations to study myocardial infarct
  • Development and characterization of rotating frame relaxations
  • Characterization and follow up hind limb ischemia undergoing angiogenesis by MRI relaxations


University of Eastern Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Instrumentarium Science Foundation

Selected publications

  • Hakkarainen H, Sierra A, Mangia S, Garwood M, Michaeli S, Gröhn O, Liimatainen T. MRI relaxation in the presence of fictitious fields correlates with myelin content in normal rat brain. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2016, 75, 161-168.
  • Liimatainen T, Hakkarainen H, Mangia S, Huttunen JM, Storino C, Idiyatullin D, Sorce D, Garwood M,     Michaeli S. MRI contrasts in high rank rotating frames. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2015, 73, 254-262.
  • Turunen MP, Husso T, Musthafa H, Laidinen S, Dragneva G, Laham-Karam N, Honkanen S, Paakinaho A, Laakkonen JP, Gao E, Vihinen-Ranta M, Liimatainen T, Ylä-Herttuala S. Epigenetic upregulation of     endogenous VEGF-A reduces myocardial infarct size in mice. PLoS One, 2014, 26, e89979.
  • Gomes RS, das Neves RP, Cochlin L, Lima A, Carvalho R, Korpisalo P, Dragneva G, Turunen M, Liimatainen T, Clarke K, Ylä-Herttuala S, Carr C, Ferreira L. Efficient pro-survival/angiogenic miRNA delivery by an MRI-detectable nanomaterial. ACS Nano. 2013 23, 3362-3372.
  • Musthafa HS, Dragneva G, Lottonen L, Merentie M, Petrov L, Heikura T, Ylä-Herttuala E, Ylä-Herttuala S, Gröhn O, Liimatainen T. Longitudinal rotating frame relaxation time measurements in infarcted mouse myocardium in vivo. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2013, 69, 1389-1395.
  • Liimatainen T, Sierra A, Hanson T, Sorce DJ, Ylä-Herttuala S, Garwood M, Michaeli S, Gröhn O. Glioma cell density in a rat gene therapy model gauged by water relaxation rate along a fictitious magnetic field. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2012, 67, 269-727.
  • Liimatainen T, Mangia S, Ling W, Ellermann J, Sorce DJ, Garwood M, Michaeli S, Relaxation dispersion in MRI induced by fictitious magnetic fields. Journal of Magnetic Resonance, 2011, 209, 269-276.
  • Liimatainen T, Sorce D, O’Connell R, Garwood M, Michaeli S, MRI Contrast from Relaxation Along a Fictitious Field (RAFF), Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2010, 64, 983-994.
  • Liimatainen T, Hakumäki JM, Kauppinen RA, Ala-Korpela M, Monitoring of gliomas in vivo by diffusion MRI and 1H MRS during gene therapy induced apoptosis – interrelationships between water diffusion and mobile lipids, NMR in biomedicine, 2009, 22, 272-279.
  • Liimatainen T, Erkkilä A, Vidgren H, Valonen P, Gröhn OH, Ylä-Herttuala S, Hakumäki JM, 1H Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging of Phospholipase-mediated Membrane Lipid Release in Apoptotic Rat Glioma In Vivo, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2008, 59, 1232-1238.