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NMR Biomed. 2009 Feb;22(2):229-39. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1312.

Brain temperature and pH measured by (1)H chemical shift imaging of a thulium agent.

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Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC), Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Temperature and pH are two of the most important physiological parameters and are believed to be tightly regulated because they are intricately related to energy metabolism in living organisms. Temperature and/or pH data in mammalian brain are scarce, however, mainly because of lack of precise and non-invasive methods. At 11.7 T, we demonstrate that a thulium-based macrocyclic complex infused through the bloodstream can be used to obtain temperature and pH maps of rat brain in vivo by (1)H chemical shift imaging (CSI) of the sensor itself in conjunction with a multi-parametric model that depends on several proton resonances of the sensor. Accuracies of temperature and pH determination with the thulium sensor - which has a predominantly extracellular presence - depend on stable signals during the course of the CSI experiment as well as redundancy for temperature and pH sensitivities contained within the observed signals. The thulium-based method compared well with other methods for temperature ((1)H MRS of N-acetylaspartate and water; copper-constantan thermocouple wire) and pH ((31)P MRS of inorganic phosphate and phosphocreatine) assessment, as established by in vitro and in vivo studies. In vitro studies in phantoms with two compartments of different pH value observed under different ambient temperature conditions generated precise temperature and pH distribution maps. In vivo studies in alpha-chloralose-anesthetized and renal-ligated rats revealed temperature (33-34 degrees C) and pH (7.3-7.4) distributions in the cerebral cortex that are in agreement with observations by other methods. These results show that the thulium sensor can be used to measure temperature and pH distributions in rat brain in vivo simultaneously and accurately using Biosensor Imaging of Redundant Deviation in Shifts (BIRDS).

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