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J Magn Reson. 2008 Jul;193(1):63-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2008.04.019. Epub 2008 May 5.

Natural abundance (17)O NMR spectroscopy of rat brain in vivo.

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  • 1Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8043, USA.


Oxygen is an abundant element that is present in almost all biologically relevant molecules. NMR observation of oxygen has been relatively limited since the NMR-active isotope, oxygen-17, is only present at a 0.037% natural abundance. Furthermore, as a spin 5/2 nucleus oxygen-17 has a moderately strong quadrupole moment which leads to fairly broad resonances (T(2)=1-4 ms). However, the similarly short T(1) relaxation constants allow substantial signal averaging, whereas the large chemical shift range (>300 ppm) improves the spectral resolution of (17)O NMR. Here it is shown that high-quality, natural abundance (17)O NMR spectra can be obtained from rat brain in vivo at 11.74 T. The chemical shifts and line widths of more than 20 oxygen-containing metabolites are established and the sensitivity and potential for (17)O-enriched NMR studies are estimated.

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