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Development and Application of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy

Metabolic images of the conversion of hyperpolarized pyruvate into bicarbonate and lactate in the normal and infarcted heart. A/F show standard proton images of the perfused heart, B/G show late gadolinium images highlighting the infarct area with a region of hypointensity, C/H show the distribution of the infused hyperpolarized pyruvate whilst D/I and E/J show the distribution of bicarbonate and lactate respectively. An area of reduced bicarbonate and enhanced lactate signal can be seen in the region of the infarct.
Metabolic images of the conversion of hyperpolarized pyruvate into bicarbonate and lactate in the normal and infarcted heart. A/F show standard proton images of the perfused heart, B/G show late gadolinium images highlighting the infarct area with a region of hypointensity, C/H show the distribution of the infused hyperpolarized pyruvate whilst D/I and E/J show the distribution of bicarbonate and lactate respectively. An area of reduced bicarbonate and enhanced lactate signal can be seen in the region of the infarct.

Using metabolic imaging to transform our approach to disease detection and treatment

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRI/MRS) have long been used to monitor structure and function at repeated times and at stages of disease progression.
  • However, the application of MRI/MRS for metabolic imaging has been limited by intrinsically low sensitivity. In standard MRI, the proton concentration in water compensates for low sensitivity; this is not true for low natural abundance magnetic nuclei, such as carbon (13C).
  • Hyperpolarization using the Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) technique, first explored and applied in solid-state physics, is a process that yields greater than 10,000-fold signal increases in MR-active nuclei. When used with MR spectroscopy, liquid-state hyperpolarized 13C MR enables unprecedented real-time visualization of the biochemical mechanisms of normal and abnormal metabolism.
  • This allows measurement of instantaneous rates of substrate uptake and enzymatic transformation in vivo, providing a sensitive measurement for the early stages of disease.
  • The aim of our work is to utilize and further these developments to study initial rates of metabolism in the healthy and diseased heart.
  • The majority of our work focuses on the assessment of rates of pyruvate metabolism through key metabolic enzymes (e.g. Pyruvate Dehydrogenase) and how they are altered in disease. Through technical developments, our work will also allow the study of other important metabolic molecules and the assessment of pH.
  • Understanding of initial metabolic rates of key molecules will provide insight into disease identification, progression and treatment that will provide new information to the study of cardiac metabolism.

Our team

  • Damian Tyler
    Damian Tyler

    Associate Professor of Biomedical Science

  • Vicky Ball

    Research Technician

  • Lucia Giles

    Postgraduate Student

  • Oliver Rider

    Clinical Fellow

  • Dragana Savic

    Postgraduate Student

  • Matthew Kerr

    Postgraduate Student

  • Giles McMullen-Klein

    Postgraduate Student

  • Katherine Fisher

    Postgraduate Student

  • Kerstin Timm

    BHF Immediate Postdoctoral Basic Science Research Fellow

  • Maria Sousa Fialho

    Postgraduate Student

  • Andrew Lewis

    Postgraduate Student

Selected publications

Related research themes