Creating a clinical platform for carbon-13 studies using the sodium-23 and proton resonances

James T Grist, Esben S S Hansen, Juan D Sánchez-Heredia, Mary A McLean, Rasmus Tougaard, Frank Riemer, Rolf F Schulte, Joshua D Kaggie, Jan Henrik Ardenkjaer-Larsen, Christoffer Laustsen, Ferdia A Gallagher

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PURPOSE: Calibration of hyperpolarized 13 C-MRI is limited by the low signal from endogenous carbon-containing molecules and consequently requires 13 C-enriched external phantoms. This study investigated the feasibility of using either 23 Na-MRI or 1 H-MRI to calibrate the 13 C excitation.

METHODS: Commercial 13 C-coils were used to estimate the transmit gain and center frequency for 13 C and 23 Na resonances. Simulations of the transmit B1 profile of a Helmholtz loop were performed. Noise correlation was measured for both nuclei. A retrospective analysis of human data assessing the use of the 1 H resonance to predict [1-13 C]pyruvate center frequency was also performed. In vivo experiments were undertaken in the lower limbs of 6 pigs following injection of hyperpolarized 13 C-pyruvate.

RESULTS: The difference in center frequencies and transmit gain between tissue 23 Na and [1-13 C]pyruvate was reproducible, with a mean scale factor of 1.05179 ± 0.00001 and 10.4 ± 0.2 dB, respectively. Utilizing the 1 H water peak, it was possible to retrospectively predict the 13 C-pyruvate center frequency with a standard deviation of only 11 Hz sufficient for spectral-spatial excitation-based studies.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the feasibility of using the 23 Na and 1 H resonances to calibrate the 13 C transmit B1 using commercially available 13 C-coils. The method provides a simple approach for in vivo calibration and could improve clinical workflow.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Pages (from-to)1817-1827
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • MRI
  • calibration
  • carbon-13
  • hyperpolarized
  • sodium-23


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