One of the challenges of optimizing signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and image quality in (13)C metabolic imaging using hyperpolarized (13)C-pyruvate is associated with the different MR signal time-courses for pyruvate and its metabolic products, lactate and alanine. The impact of the acquisition time window, variation of flip angles, and order of phase encoding on SNR and image quality were evaluated in mathematical simulations and rat experiments, based on multishot fast chemical shift imaging (CSI) and three-dimensional echo-planar spectroscopic imaging (3DEPSI) sequences. The image timing was set to coincide with the peak production of lactate. The strategy of combining variable flip angles and centric phase encoding (cPE) improved image quality while retaining good SNR. In addition, two aspects of EPSI sampling strategies were explored: waveform design (flyback vs. symmetric EPSI) and spectral bandwidth (BW = 500 Hz vs. 267 Hz). Both symmetric EPSI and reduced BW trended toward increased SNR. The imaging strategies reported here can serve as guidance to other multishot spectroscopic imaging protocols for (13)C metabolic imaging applications.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.