Physikalisches Kolloquium: Molecular CEST MRI - how to find "exoplanets" in the human body

Feb 10
10. February 2021 12:00 - 13:00

Molecular CEST MRI – how to find “exoplanets” in the human body
In conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) the signals of water protons are detected via their nuclear spin ½. This is because in the living tissue water protons are most abundant. However, many other biological interesting molecules occur in the human body such as proteins, peptides, and many metabolites. Moreover, all of these molecules contain protons that are MR active and distinguishable by their Larmor frequency. While these protons can be detected in large enough samples via NMR spectroscopy, to generate a molecular map in high spatial resolution of these molecules via MR is not directly possible. The problem is similar to finding stars compared to finding exoplanets. While the stars have a bright direct signal, the planets’ signals are rather small. In this analogy, the water proton signal corresponds to the star and the solute molecules to the exoplanets in orbit of this star. Similar to indirect transit methods for detection of exoplanets we can also use a modulation of the large water signal to detect the diluted molecules – employing magnetization and proton transfer processes (chemical exchange).
The resulting chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI technique promises novel and non-invasive molecular image contrast with correlation ranging from pH, over metabolite content, to protein conformation. The physical background of the phenomenon is followed by a report of novel effects that could be detected with this method. Examples of the B0 = 7T scanner we operate in Erlangen are shown and the benefits of such ultra-high fields for CEST MRI are discussed. The noninvasive technique is an example how novel fundamental insights can be translated quickly also to clinically relevant imaging methodologies, improving detection of stroke, tumors or neurodegenerative disease.

Sprecher: Prof. Dr. Moritz Zaiss, Professur für multimodale Bildgebung in der klinischen Forschung, Abteilung Neuroradiologie im Universitätsklinikum der FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Kontakt: Prof. Dr. Kai Phillip Schmidt

Thema: Physikalisches Kolloquium
Uhrzeit: 20.Jan.2021 12:00 PM Amsterdam, Berlin, Rom, Stockholm, Wien
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