Journal Highlight: Hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI of the human lung

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  • Published: Feb 25, 2013
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: MRI Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Hyperpolarized <sup>129</sup>Xe MRI of the human lung

Hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI of the human lung

Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2013, 37, 313-331
John P. Mugler III, Talissa A. Altes

The replacement of 3He by 129Xe as an MRI contrast agent is discussed with special reference to the evaluation of pulmonary structure and function.

Abstract: By permitting direct visualization of the airspaces of the lung, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using hyperpolarized gases provides unique strategies for evaluating pulmonary structure and function. Although the vast majority of research in humans has been performed using hyperpolarized 3He, recent contraction in the supply of 3He and consequent increases in price have turned attention to the alternative agent, hyperpolarized 129Xe. Compared to 3He, 129Xe yields reduced signal due to its smaller magnetic moment. Nonetheless, taking advantage of advances in gas-polarization technology, recent studies in humans using techniques for measuring ventilation, diffusion, and partial pressure of oxygen have demonstrated results for hyperpolarized 129Xe comparable to those previously demonstrated using hyperpolarized 3He. In addition, xenon has the advantage of readily dissolving in lung tissue and blood following inhalation, which makes hyperpolarized 129Xe particularly attractive for exploring certain characteristics of lung function, such as gas exchange and uptake, which cannot be accessed using 3He. Preliminary results from methods for imaging 129Xe dissolved in the human lung suggest that these approaches will provide new opportunities for quantifying relationships among gas delivery, exchange, and transport, and thus show substantial potential to broaden our understanding of lung disease. Finally, recent changes in the commercial landscape of the hyperpolarized-gas field now make it possible for this innovative technology to move beyond the research laboratory.

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