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Eur Radiol. 2006 Jan;16(1):57-67. Epub 2005 Jun 14.

13C imaging-a new diagnostic platform.

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Department of Experimental Research, Malmö University Hospital, 205 02, Malmö, Sweden.


The evolution of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been astounding since the early 1980s, and a broad range of applications has emerged. To date, clinical imaging of nuclei other than protons has been precluded for reasons of sensitivity. However, with the recent development of hyperpolarization techniques, the signal from a given number of nuclei can be increased as much as 100,000 times, sufficient to enable imaging of nonproton nuclei. Technically, imaging of hyperpolarized nuclei offers several unique properties, such as complete lack of background signal and possibility for local and permanent destruction of the signal by means of radio frequency (RF) pulses. These properties allow for improved as well as new techniques within several application areas. Diagnostically, the injected compounds can visualize information about flow, perfusion, excretory function, and metabolic status. In this review article, we explain the concept of hyperpolarization and the techniques to hyperpolarize 13C. An overview of results obtained within angiography, perfusion, and catheter tracking is given, together with a discussion of the particular advantages and limitations. Finally, possible future directions of hyperpolarized 13C MRI are pointed out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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