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IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2004 Sep-Oct;23(5):57-64.

pH imaging. A review of pH measurement methods and applications in cancers.

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Department of Biochemistry, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson 85724-5024, USA.


Acid-base balance is altered in a variety of common pathologies, including COPD, ischemia, renal failure, and cancer. Because of robust cellular pH homeostatic mechanisms, most of the pathological alterations in pH are expressed as changes in the extracellular, systemic pH. There are data to indicate that altered pH is not simply an epiphenomenon of metabolic or physiologic imbalance but that chronic pH alterations can have important sequelae. MRSI and MRI measurements indicate that pH gradients of up to 1.0 pH unit can exit within 1-cm distance. Although measurement of blood pH can indicate systemic problems, it cannot pinpoint the lesion or quantitatively assess the magnitude of excursion from normal pHe. Hence, there is a need to develop pHe measurement methods with high spatiotemporal resolution. The two major approaches being investigated include magnetization transfer methods and relaxation methods. pH-dependent MT effects can observed with endogenous signals or exogenously applied CEST agents. While endogenous signals have the advantage of being fully noninvasive and relatively straightforward to apply, they lack a full biophysical characterization and dynamic range that might be afforded by future CEST agents. pH-dependent relaxivity also requires the injection or infusion of exogenous contrast reagents. In both MT and relaxographic approaches, the magnitude of the effect, and, thus, the ability to quantify pHe, depends on a spatially and temporally varying concentration of the CR. A number of approaches have been proposed to solve this problem and, once it is solved, pH imaging methods will be applicable to human clinical pathologies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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