Dynamic 2D and 3D mapping of hyperpolarized pyruvate to lactate conversion in vivo with efficient multi-echo balanced steady-state free precession at 3 T

Christoph A. Müller*, Christian Hundshammer, Miriam Braeuer, Jason G. Skinner, Stephan Berner, Jochen Leupold, Stephan Düwel, Stephan G. Nekolla, Sven Månsson, Adam E. Hansen, Dominik von Elverfeldt, Jan H. Ardenkjaer-Larsen, Franz Schilling, Markus Schwaiger, Jürgen Hennig, Jan Bernd Hövener

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aim of this study was to acquire the transient MRI signal of hyperpolarized tracers and their metabolites efficiently, for which specialized imaging sequences are required. In this work, a multi-echo balanced steady-state free precession (me-bSSFP) sequence with Iterative Decomposition with Echo Asymmetry and Least squares estimation (IDEAL) reconstruction was implemented on a clinical 3 T positron-emission tomography/MRI system for fast 2D and 3D metabolic imaging. Simulations were conducted to obtain signal-efficient sequence protocols for the metabolic imaging of hyperpolarized biomolecules. The sequence was applied in vitro and in vivo for probing the enzymatic exchange of hyperpolarized [1–13C]pyruvate and [1–13C]lactate. Chemical shift resolution was achieved using a least-square, iterative chemical species separation algorithm in the reconstruction. In vitro, metabolic conversion rate measurements from me-bSSFP were compared with NMR spectroscopy and free induction decay-chemical shift imaging (FID-CSI). In vivo, a rat MAT-B-III tumor model was imaged with me-bSSFP and FID-CSI. 2D metabolite maps of [1–13C]pyruvate and [1–13C]lactate acquired with me-bSSFP showed the same spatial distributions as FID-CSI. The pyruvate-lactate conversion kinetics measured with me-bSSFP and NMR corresponded well. Dynamic 2D metabolite mapping with me-bSSFP enabled the acquisition of up to 420 time frames (scan time: 180-350 ms/frame) before the hyperpolarized [1–13C]pyruvate was relaxed below noise level. 3D metabolite mapping with a large field of view (180 × 180 × 48 mm3) and high spatial resolution (5.6 × 5.6 × 2 mm3) was conducted with me-bSSFP in a scan time of 8.2 seconds. It was concluded that Me-bSSFP improves the spatial and temporal resolution for metabolic imaging of hyperpolarized [1–13C]pyruvate and [1–13C]lactate compared with either of the FID-CSI or EPSI methods reported at 3 T, providing new possibilities for clinical and preclinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4291
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number6
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Balanced steady-state free precession
  • Carbon-13
  • Dynamic nuclear polarization
  • Hyperpolarization
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Metabolite mapping


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