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J Magn Reson. 2018 Jul;292:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2018.04.007. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

3He diffusion MRI in human lungs.

Author information

1
Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research, Departments of Radiology and Pediatrics (Pulmonary Medicine), Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave, ML 5033, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA; Department of Physics, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, CB 1105, St Louis, MO 63130, USA. Electronic address: jason.woods@cchmc.org.
2
ABQMR, Inc., 2301 Yale Blvd. SE, Suite C2, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA; Department of Physics, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, CB 1105, St Louis, MO 63130, USA. Electronic address: msc@wustl.edu.

Abstract

Hyperpolarized 3He gas allows the air spaces of the lungs to be imaged via MRI. Imaging of restricted diffusion is addressed here, which allows the microstructure of the lung to be characterized through the physical restrictions to gas diffusion presented by airway and alveolar walls in the lung. Measurements of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of 3He at time scales of milliseconds and seconds are compared; measurement of acinar airway sizes by determination of the microscopic anisotropy of diffusion is discussed. This is where Dr. JJH Ackerman's influence was greatest in aiding the formation of the Washington University 3He group, involving early a combination of physicists, radiologists, and surgeons, as the first applications of 3He ADC were to COPD and its destruction/modification of lung microstructure via emphysema. The sensitivity of the method to early COPD is demonstrated, as is its validation by direct comparison to histology. More recently the method has been used broadly in adult and pediatric obstructive lung diseases, from severe asthma to cystic fibrosis to bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a result of premature birth. These applications of the technique are discussed briefly.

KEYWORDS:

COPD; Diffusion imaging; Hyperpolarized; Lungs; Neonatal; Pediatric; Restricted diffusion

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