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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2012 Jun 15;302(12):F1658-62. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00640.2011. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Monitoring urea transport in rat kidney in vivo using hyperpolarized ¹³C magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Urea functions as a key osmolyte in the urinary concentrating mechanism of the inner medulla. The urea transporter UT-A1 is upregulated by antidiuretic hormone, facilitating faster equilibration of urea between the lumen and interstitium of the inner medullary collecting duct, resulting in the formation of more highly concentrated urine. New methods in dynamic nuclear polarization, providing ∼50,000-fold enhancement of nuclear magnetic resonance signals in the liquid state, offer a novel means to monitor this process in vivo using magnetic resonance imaging. In this study, we detected significant signal differences in the rat kidney between acute diuretic and antidiuretic states, using dynamic (13)C magnetic resonance imaging following a bolus infusion of hyperpolarized [(13)C]urea. More rapid medullary enhancement was observed under antidiuresis, consistent with known upregulation of UT-A1.

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