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Biophys J. 1990 Jul;58(1):127-34.

Interstitial sodium nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation times in perfused hearts.

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Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge 02139.


Separation of intracellular and extracellular sodium nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) signals would enable nondestructive monitoring of intracellular sodium. It has been proposed that differences between the relaxation times of intracellular and extracellular sodium be used either directly or indirectly to separate the signal from each compartment. However, whereas intracellular sodium relaxation times have been characterized for some systems, these times were unknown for interstitial sodium. In this study, the interstitial sodium NMR relaxation times have been measured in perfused frog and rat hearts under control conditions. This was achieved by eliminating the NMR signal from the extracardiac (perfusate) sodium, and then quantifying the remaining cardiac signal. The intracellular signal was measured to be 8% (frog) or 22% (rat) of the cardiac signal and its subtraction was found to have a negligible effect on the cardiac relaxation times. Therefore this cardiac signal is considered to provide a good estimate of interstitial relaxation behavior. For perfused frog (rat) hearts under control conditions, this signal was found to have a T1 of 31.6 +/- 3.0 ms (27.3 +/- 1.6 ms) and a biexponential T2 of 1.9 +/- 1.0 ms (2.1 +/- 0.3 ms) and 25.2 +/- 1.3 ms (26.3 +/- 3.2 ms). Due to the methods used to separate cardiac signal from perfusate signal, it is possible that this characterized only a part of the signal from the interstitium. The short T2 component attributable to the interstitial signal indicates that separation of the NMR signals from each compartment on the basis of relaxation times alone may be difficult.

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