Probing lung physiology with xenon polarization transfer contrast (XTC)

Magn Reson Med. 2000 Sep;44(3):349-57. doi: 10.1002/1522-2594(200009)44:3<349::aid-mrm2>;2-j.


One of the major goals of hyperpolarized-gas MRI has been to obtain (129)Xe dissolved-phase images in humans. So far, this goal has remained elusive, mainly due to the low concentration of xenon that dissolves in tissue. A method is proposed and demonstrated in dogs that allows information about the dissolved phase to be obtained by imaging the gas phase following the application of a series of RF pulses that selectively destroy the longitudinal magnetization of xenon dissolved in the lung parenchyma. During the delay time between consecutive RF pulses, the depolarized xenon rapidly exchanges with the gas phase, thus lowering the gas polarization. It is demonstrated that the resulting contrast in the (129)Xe gas image provides information about the local tissue density. It is further argued that minor pulse-sequence modifications may provide information about the alveolar surface area or lung perfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Fluid Compartments / physiology
  • Bronchi / anatomy & histology
  • Bronchi / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Lung / anatomy & histology*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Radio Waves
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Trachea / anatomy & histology
  • Trachea / metabolism
  • Xenon / metabolism*
  • Xenon / pharmacokinetics


  • Xenon