Purpose: Hyperpolarized (HP) 13C MRI has enabled real-time imaging of specific enzyme-catalyzed metabolic reactions, but advanced pulse sequences are necessary to capture the dynamic, localized metabolic information. Herein we describe the design, implementation, and testing of a rapid and efficient HP 13C pulse sequence strategy on a cryogen-free simultaneous positron emission tomography/MR molecular imaging platform with compact footprint. Methods: We developed an echo planar spectroscopic imaging pulse sequence incorporating multi-band spectral–spatial radiofrequency (SSRF) pulses for spatially coregistered excitation of 13C metabolites with differential individual flip angles. Excitation profiles were measured in phantoms, and the SSRF-echo planar spectroscopic imaging sequence was tested in rats in vivo and compared to conventional echo planar spectroscopic imaging. The new sequence was applied for 2D dynamic metabolic imaging of HP [1-13C]pyruvate and its molecular analog [1-13C] (Formula presented.) -ketobutyrate at a spatial resolution of 5 mm × 5 mm × 20 mm and temporal resolution of 4 s. We also obtained simultaneous 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography data for comparison with HP [1-13C]pyruvate data acquired during the same scan session. Results: Measured SSRF excitation profiles corresponded well to Bloch simulations. Multi-band SSRF excitation facilitated efficient sampling of the multi-spectral kinetics of [1-13C]pyruvate and [1-13C] (Formula presented.) - (Formula presented.). Whereas high pyruvate to lactate conversion was observed in liver, corresponding reduction of (Formula presented.) -ketobutyrate to [1-13C] (Formula presented.) -hydroxybutyrate ((Formula presented.) HB) was largely restricted to the kidneys and heart, consistent with the known expression pattern of lactate dehydrogenase B. Conclusion: Advanced 13C SSRF imaging approaches are feasible on our compact positron emission tomography/MR platform, maximizing the potential of HP 13C technology and facilitating direct comparison with positron emission tomography.
- dynamic nuclear polarization
- metabolic imaging