Development of high resolution 3D hyperpolarized carbon-13 MR molecular imaging techniques

Magn Reson Imaging. 2017 May;38:152-162. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Jan 7.


The goal of this project was to develop and apply techniques for T2 mapping and 3D high resolution (1.5mm isotropic; 0.003cm3) 13C imaging of hyperpolarized (HP) probes [1-13C]lactate, [1-13C]pyruvate, [2-13C]pyruvate, and [13C,15N2]urea in vivo. A specialized 2D bSSFP sequence was implemented on a clinical 3T scanner and used to obtain the first high resolution T2 maps of these different hyperpolarized compounds in both rats and tumor-bearing mice. These maps were first used to optimize timings for highest SNR for single time-point 3D bSSFP acquisitions with a 1.5mm isotropic spatial resolution of normal rats. This 3D acquisition approach was extended to serial dynamic imaging with 2-fold compressed sensing acceleration without changing spatial resolution. The T2 mapping experiments yielded measurements of T2 values of >1s for all compounds within rat kidneys/vasculature and TRAMP tumors, except for [2-13C]pyruvate which was ~730ms and ~320ms, respectively. The high resolution 3D imaging enabled visualization the biodistribution of [1-13C]lactate, [1-13C]pyruvate, and [2-13C]pyruvate within different kidney compartments as well as in the vasculature. While the mouse anatomy is smaller, the resolution was also sufficient to image the distribution of all compounds within kidney, vasculature, and tumor. The development of the specialized 3D sequence with compressed sensing provided improved structural and functional assessments at a high (0.003cm3) spatial and 2s temporal resolution in vivo utilizing HP 13C substrates by exploiting their long T2 values. This 1.5mm isotropic resolution is comparable to 1H imaging and application of this approach could be extended to future studies of uptake, metabolism, and perfusion in cancer and other disease models and may ultimately be of value for clinical imaging.

Keywords: (13)C; DNP; Hyperpolarized; Pyruvate; SSFP; Urea.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Isotopes / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Pyruvic Acid / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Urea / chemistry


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Urea