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Neurol Res. 1993 Aug;15(4):237-48.

Determination of regional cerebral oxygen consumption in the human: 17O natural abundance cerebral magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy in a whole body system.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago 60680.


17O natural abundance imaging in a whole body imager is demonstrated using standard MRI spectrometer and 1H imaging methods. A novel design of a highly sensitive 17O/1H doubly tuned surface head coil is shown. The head probe allows simultaneous acquisition of 17O and 1H images using a single coil. The relatively low 17O signal intensity due to the low natural abundance of 17O (0.037 atom percent) is partially compensated by fast repetition of the pulse sequence, achievable due to the short spin lattice relaxation time, T1. A small number of signal averages (e.g., NEX = 50) is sufficient for obtaining images having signal to noise of about 5:1. Due to the short longitudinal relaxation time of 17O, i.e., 2-5 msec, short TR values can be used. 128 phase encoding steps with TR = 10-25 msec correspond to total acquisition time of 1 to 2.5 min. Due to the small gyromagnetic ratio of 17O and the relatively small gradients in a standard whole body system, i.e. 0.5 G/cm, the image in-plane resolution is about 3 mm and a slice thickness of 15 mm. In vivo 17O MRS and MRI natural abundance spectroscopic signals and images of human brain have been observed. The transverse relaxation time, T2 was found to be 2.00 +/- 0.17 msec at 1.5 T. MRS 17O measurements of signal intensity in the occipital cortex during inhalation of oxygen gas, 21.8% 17O enriched, showed a maximum signal enhancement of 25% within the inhalation period. The rate of the metabolism of oxygen (CMRO2) in the occipital cortex was found to be 1.5 mumole/(g tissue) in good agreement with the value of 1.435 mumole/(g tissue) given in the literature. Current measurements using higher 17O enrichments and larger quantities of 17O enriched oxygen gas will enhance resolution and provide more accurate determination of the rate of oxygen metabolism rate and blood flow. The potential of 17O imaging is thus demonstrated in physiological in vivo studies of cerebral metabolism of oxygen and blood flow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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