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NMR Biomed. 2016 Jan;29(1):57-65. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3445.

Feasibility and repeatability of localized (31) P-MRS four-angle saturation transfer (FAST) of the human gastrocnemius muscle using a surface coil at 7 T.

Author information

High Field MR Centre, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Christian Doppler Laboratory for Clinical Molecular MR Imaging, Vienna, Austria.
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Imaging Methods, Institute of Measurement Science, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Oxford Centre for Clinical MR Research (OCMR), University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


Phosphorus ((31) P) MRS, combined with saturation transfer (ST), provides non-invasive insight into muscle energy metabolism. However, even at 7 T, the standard ST method with T1 (app) measured by inversion recovery takes about 10 min, making it impractical for dynamic examinations. An alternative method, i.e. four-angle saturation transfer (FAST), can shorten the examination time. The aim of this study was to test the feasibility, repeatability, and possible time resolution of the localized FAST technique measurement on an ultra-high-field MR system, to accelerate the measurement of both Pi -to-ATP and PCr-to-ATP reaction rates in the human gastrocnemius muscle and to test the feasibility of using the FAST method for dynamic measurements. We measured the exchange rates and metabolic fluxes in the gastrocnemius muscle of eight healthy subjects at 7 T with the depth-resolved surface coil MRS (DRESS)-localized FAST method. For comparison, a standard ST localized method was also used. The measurement time for the localized FAST experiment was 3.5 min compared with the 10 min for the standard localized ST experiment. In addition, in five healthy volunteers, Pi -to-ATP and PCr-to-ATP metabolic fluxes were measured in the gastrocnemius muscle at rest and during plantar flexion by the DRESS-localized FAST method. The repeatability of PCr-to-ATP and Pi -to-ATP exchange rate constants, determined by the slab-selective localized FAST method at 7 T, is high, as the coefficients of variation remained below 20%, and the results of the exchange rates measured with the FAST method are comparable to those measured with standard ST. During physical activity, the PCr-to-ATP metabolic flux decreased (from FCK  = 8.21 ± 1.15 mM s(-1) to FCK  = 3.86 ± 1.38 mM s(-1) ) and the Pi -to-ATP flux increased (from FATP  = 0.43 ± 0.14 mM s(-1) to FATP  = 0.74 ± 0.13 mM s(-1) ). In conclusion, we could demonstrate that measurements in the gastrocnemius muscle are feasible at rest and are short enough to be used during exercise with the DRESS-localized FAST method at 7 T.


31P-MRS; 7 T; FAST; muscle metabolism; saturation transfer

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