Emerging Technologies to Image Tissue Metabolism

Vasilis Ntziachristos, Miguel A. Pleitez, Silvio Aime, Kevin M. Brindle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Due to the implication of altered metabolism in a large spectrum of tissue function and disease, assessment of metabolic processes becomes essential in managing health. In this regard, imaging can play a critical role in allowing observation of biochemical and physiological processes. Nuclear imaging methods, in particular positron emission tomography, have been widely employed for imaging metabolism but are mainly limited by the use of ionizing radiation and the sensing of only one parameter at each scanning session. Observations in healthy individuals or longitudinal studies of disease could markedly benefit from non-ionizing, multi-parameter imaging methods. We therefore focus this review on progress with the non-ionizing radiation methods of MRI, hyperpolarized magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, chemical exchange saturation transfer, and emerging optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging. We also briefly discuss the role of nuclear and optical imaging methods for research and clinical protocols. Ntziachristos et al. comprehensively review the state of the art in imaging metabolic processes in living tissues using non-ionizing radiation, including emerging methods based on magnetic resonance, optics, and optoacoustics (photoacoustics). These technologies uniquely allow for longitudinal studies of biochemical and physiological processes and can enhance the detection and assessment of metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-538
Number of pages21
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2019


  • CEST
  • MRI
  • PET
  • blood oxygenation
  • brown adipose tissue
  • diabetes
  • lipid
  • optoacoustic
  • photoacoustic
  • ultrasound


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