Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe

M. S. Albert, G. D. Cates, B. Driehuys, W. Happer, B. Saam, Charles Jr Springer, A. Wishnia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

780 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As currently implemented, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) relies on the protons of water molecules in tissue to provide the NMR signal. Protons are, however, notoriously difficult to image in some biological environments of interest, notably the lungs and lipid bilayer membranes such as those in the brain. Here we show that 129Xe gas can be used for high-resolution MRI when the nuclear-spin polarization of the atoms is increased by laser optical pumping and spin exchange. This process produces hyperpolarized 129Xe, in which the magnetization is enhanced by a factor of about 105. By introducing hyperpolarized 129Xe into mouse lungs we have obtained images of the lung gas space with a speed and a resolution better than those available from proton MRI or emission tomography. As xenon (a safe general anaesthetic) is rapidly and safely transferred from the lungs to blood and thence to other tissues, where it is concentrated in lipid and protein components, images of the circulatory system, the brain and other vital organs can also be obtained. Because the magnetic behaviour of 129Xe is very sensitive to its environment, and is different from that of 1H2O, MRI using hyperpolarized 129Xe should involve distinct and sensitive mechanisms for tissue contrast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-201
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume370
Issue number6486
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Lasers
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Protons
Lung
Gases
General Anesthetics
Xenon
Brain
Lipid Bilayers
Cardiovascular System
Tomography
Lipids
Membranes
Water
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Albert, M. S., Cates, G. D., Driehuys, B., Happer, W., Saam, B., Springer, C. J., & Wishnia, A. (1994). Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe. Nature, 370(6486), 199-201. https://doi.org/10.1038/370199a0

Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe. / Albert, M. S.; Cates, G. D.; Driehuys, B.; Happer, W.; Saam, B.; Springer, Charles Jr; Wishnia, A.

In: Nature, Vol. 370, No. 6486, 1994, p. 199-201.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Albert, MS, Cates, GD, Driehuys, B, Happer, W, Saam, B, Springer, CJ & Wishnia, A 1994, 'Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe', Nature, vol. 370, no. 6486, pp. 199-201. https://doi.org/10.1038/370199a0
Albert MS, Cates GD, Driehuys B, Happer W, Saam B, Springer CJ et al. Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe. Nature. 1994;370(6486):199-201. https://doi.org/10.1038/370199a0
Albert, M. S. ; Cates, G. D. ; Driehuys, B. ; Happer, W. ; Saam, B. ; Springer, Charles Jr ; Wishnia, A. / Biological magnetic resonance imaging using laser-polarized 129Xe. In: Nature. 1994 ; Vol. 370, No. 6486. pp. 199-201.
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