Iron overload was induced by iron dextran i.v. in clinically healthy adult pigeons, Columbia livia, (n = 8). Hemosiderosis was induced in all treated birds. Two control pigeons received no iron injections. Pigeons did not show clinical signs of iron overload during the 6-wk study. Ultrasound examination of the liver in the pigeons receiving iron dextran was performed on days 0, 13, 28, and 42. No ultrasound images were collected on the control pigeons. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on days 0, 13, 28, and 42 on all study pigeons and imaging sequences were collected in three different imaging formats: T1, T2, and gradient-recalled echo (GRE). Surgical liver biopsies were performed on pigeons receiving iron dextran on days 2, 16, and 45 (at necropsy). A single liver sample was collected at necropsy from the control birds. Histologic examination, quantitative image analysis, and tissue iron analysis by thin-layer chromatography were performed on each liver sample and compared to the imaging studies. Although hemosiderosis was confirmed histologically in each experimental pigeon, no significant change in pixel intensity of the ultrasound images was seen at any point in the study. Signal intensity, in all magnetic resonance imaging formats, significantly decreased in a linear fashion as the accumulation of iron increased.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2