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NMR Biomed. 2012 Sep;25(9):1026-32. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2765. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Apparent diffusion coefficient of hyperpolarized (3)He with minimal influence of the residual gas in small animals.

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  • 1Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Biberach an der Riss, Germany.


The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of hyperpolarized (HP) gases is a parameter that reflects changes in lung microstructure. However, ADC is dependent on many physiological and experimental variables that need to be controlled or specified in order to ensure the reliability and reproducibility of this parameter. A single breath-hold experiment is desirable in order to reduce the amount of consumed HP gas. The application of a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) causes an increase in the residual gas volume. Depending on the applied PEEP, the ratio between the incoming and residual gas volumes will change and the ADC will vary, as long as both gases do not have the same diffusion coefficient. The most standard method for human applications uses air for breathing and a bolus of pure HP (3)He for MRI data acquisition. By applying this method in rats, we have demonstrated that ADC values are strongly dependent on the applied PEEP, and therefore on the residual gas volume in the lung. This outcome will play an important role in studies concerning certain diseases, such as emphysema, which is characterized by an increase in the residual volume. Ventilation with an oxygen-helium mixture (VOHeM) is a proposed single breath-hold method that uses two different gas mixtures (O(2)-(4)He for ventilation and HP (3)He-N(2) for imaging). The concentration of each gas in its respective mixture was calculated in order to obtain the same diffusion coefficient in both mixtures. ADCs obtained from VOHeM are independent of PEEP, thus minimizing the effect of the different residual volumes.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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