Quantified pH imaging with hyperpolarized 13C-bicarbonate

David Johannes Scholz, Martin A. Janich, Ulrich Köllisch, Rolf F. Schulte, Jan H. Ardenkjaer-Larsen, Annette Frank, Axel Haase, Markus Schwaiger, Marion I. Menzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose Because pH plays a crucial role in several diseases, it is desirable to measure pH in vivo noninvasively and in a spatially localized manner. Spatial maps of pH were quantified in vitro, with a focus on method-based errors, and applied in vivo. Methods In vitro and in vivo 13C mapping were performed for various flip angles for bicarbonate (BiC) and CO2 with spectral-spatial excitation and spiral readout in healthy Lewis rats in five slices. Acute subcutaneous sterile inflammation was induced with Concanavalin A in the right leg of Buffalo rats. pH and proton images were measured 2 h after induction. Results After optimizing the signal to noise ratio of the hyperpolarized 13C-bicarbonate, error estimation of the spectral-spatial excited spectrum reveals that the method covers the biologically relevant pH range of 6 to 8 with low pH error (< 0.2). Quantification of pH maps shows negligible impact of the residual bicarbonate signal. pH maps reflect the induction of acute metabolic alkalosis. Inflamed, infected regions exhibit lower pH. Conclusion Hyperpolarized 13C-bicarbonate pH mapping was shown to be sensitive in the biologically relevant pH range. The mapping of pH was applied to healthy in vivo organs and interpreted within inflammation and acute metabolic alkalosis models. Magn Reson Med 73:2274-2282, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2274-2282
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • bicarbonate
  • hyperpolarized C
  • in vivo
  • pH


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