Robust and high resolution hyperpolarized metabolic imaging of the rat heart at 7T with 3D spectral-spatial EPI


Purpose: Hyperpolarized metabolic imaging has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and management of diseases where metabolism is dysregulated, such as heart disease. We investigated the feasibility of imaging rodent myocardial metabolism at high resolution at 7 T. Methods: We present here a fly-back spectral-spatial radiofrequency pulse that sidestepped maximum gradient strength requirements and enabled high resolution metabolic imaging of the rodent myocardium. A 3D echo-planar imaging readout followed, with centric ordered $z$-phase encoding. The cardiac gated sequence was used to image metabolism in rodents whose metabolic state had been manipulated by being fasted, fed, or fed and given the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase inhibitor dichloroacetate. Results: We imaged hyperpolarized metabolites with a spatial resolution of math formula mm3 and a temporal resolution of 1.8 s in the rat heart at 7 T. Significant differences in myocardial pyruvate dehydrogenase flux were observed between the three groups of animals, concomitant with the known biochemistry. Conclusion: The proposed sequence was able to image in vivo metabolism with excellent spatial resolution in the rat heart. The field of view enabled the simultaneous multi-organ acquisition of metabolic information from the rat, which is of great utility for preclinical research in cardiovascular disease.

In Magnetic Resonance in Medicine