Toward noninvasive quantification of adipose tissue oxygenation with MRI

Darya Morozov, James D. Quirk, Scott C. Beeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Molecular oxygen (O2) plays a key role in normal and pathological adipose tissue function, yet technologies to measure its role in adipose tissue function are limited. O2 is paramagnetic and, in principle, directly influences the magnetic resonance (MR) 1H longitudinal relaxation rate constant of lipids, R1; thus, we hypothesize that MR imaging (MRI) can directly measure adipose O2 via a simple measure of R1. Methods: R1 was measured in a 4.7T preclinical MRI system at discrete oxygen partial pressure (pO2) levels. These measures were made in vitro in an idealized system and in vivo in subcutaneous and visceral white adipose of rodents. pO2 was determined using an invasive fiber-optic oxygen monitor. From the MRI and fiber optic data we determined the “relaxivity” of O2 in lipid, a critical parameter in converting the MRI-based R1 measurement into pO2. We used breathing gas challenge to estimate the changes in lipid pO2 (ΔpO2). Results: The relaxivity of O2 in lipid was determined to be 1.7·10−3 ± 4·10−4 mmHg−1s−1 at 4.7T and 37 °C, and was consistent between in vitro and in vivo adipose tissue. There was a strong, significant correlation between MRI- and gold standard OxyLite-based measurements of lipid ΔpO2 for in vivo visceral and subcutaneous fat depots in rodents. Conclusion: This study lays the foundation for a direct, noninvasive measure of adipose pO2 using MRI and will allow for noninvasive measurement of O2 flux in adipose tissue. The proposed approach would be of particular importance in the interrogation of the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, where it has been suggested that adipose tissue hypoxia is an independent driver of insulin resistance pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1776-1783
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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