On the detection of cerebral metabolic depression in experimental traumatic brain injury using Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST)-weighted MRI

Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 12;8(1):669. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-19094-z.


Metabolic abnormalities are commonly observed in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients exhibiting long-term neurological deficits. This study investigated the feasibility and reproducibility of using chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI to detect cerebral metabolic depression in experimental TBI. Phantom and in vivo CEST experiments were conducted at 9.4 Tesla to optimize the selective saturation for enhancing the endogenous contrast-weighting of the proton exchanges over the range of glucose proton chemical shifts (glucoCEST) in the resting rat brain. The optimized glucoCEST-weighted imaging was performed on a closed-head model of diffuse TBI in rats with 2-deoxy-D-[14C]-glucose (2DG) autoradiography validation. The results demonstrated that saturation duration of 1‒2 seconds at pulse powers 1.5‒2µT resulted in an improved contrast-to-noise ratio between the gray and white matter comparable to 2DG autoradiographs. The intrasubject (n = 4) and intersubject (n = 3) coefficient of variations for repeated glucoCEST acquisitions (n = 4) ranged between 8‒16%. Optimization for the TBI study revealed that glucoCEST-weighted images with 1.5μT power and 1 s saturation duration revealed the greatest changes in contrast before and after TBI, and positively correlated with 2DG autoradiograph (r = 0.78, p < 0.01, n = 6) observations. These results demonstrate that glucoCEST-weighted imaging may be useful in detecting metabolic abnormalities following TBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Rats
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Glucose