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NMR Biomed. 2013 Mar;26(3):348-56. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2866. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

Dynamic three-dimensional imaging of phosphocreatine recovery kinetics in the human lower leg muscles at 3T and 7T: a preliminary study.

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Quantitative Multinuclear Musculoskeletal Imaging Group, Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


The rate of phosphocreatine (PCr) resynthesis after physical exercise has been extensively studied with phosphorus (³¹P)-MRS. Previous studies have used small surface coils that were limited to measuring one superficial muscle per experiment. This study focuses on the development and implementation of a spectrally selective three-dimensional turbo spin echo (3D-TSE) sequence at 3T and 7T with temporal resolution of 24 s, using two geometrically identical volume coils. We acquired imaging data of PCr recovery from four healthy volunteers and one diabetic patient, who performed plantar flexions using resistance bands. We segmented the anatomical regions of six different muscles from the lower leg, namely the gastrocnemius [lateral (GL) and medial (GM)], the tibialis [anterior (TA) and posterior (TP)], the soleus (S) and the peroneus (P) and measured the local PCr resynthesis rate constants. During the same examination, we also acquired unlocalized (³¹P-MRS data at a temporal resolution of 6 s. At 3T, the PCr resynthesis rate constants were measured at 25.4 ± 3.7 s [n = 4, mean ± standard deviation (SD)] using the MRS method and 25.6 ± 4.4 s using the MRI method. At 7T, the measured rates were 26.4 ± 3.2 s and 26.2 ± 4.7 s for MRS and MRI. Using our imaging method, we measured the local PCr resynthesis rate constants in six individual muscles of the lower leg (min/max 20.2/31.7 ). The recovery rate constants measured for the diabetic patient were 55.5 s (MRS) and 52.7 s (MRI). The successful implementation of our 3D-method suggests that imaging is possible at both fields with a relatively high spatial resolution (voxel size: 4.2 mL at 3T and 1.6 mL at 7T) using volume coils and that local PCr resynthesis rates can be obtained in a single measurement. The advantage of the imaging method is that it can highlight differences in PCr resynthesis rates between different muscles in a single measurement in order to study spatial gradients of metabolic properties of diseased states for which very little is currently known.

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