Deuterium Imaging in Humans and Animals

Efficiently probing the energy metabolism using SSFP techniques

Deuterium spectroscopy is a novel and efficient way to observe energy metabolism in vivo. Due to its almost negligible natural abundance, 2H brought into the body e.g. in deuterated glucose can be observed in both its spatial distribution and its metabolic conversion. It is thus an interesting way to investigate pathologies, which change metabolic rates, like cancer.
The short and relatively similar longitudinal and transverse relaxation times of most interesting substances observed in deuterium spectroscopy make SSFP-based imaging techniques an attractive alternative to conventional spectroscopy methods due to their higher SNR efficiency. The low number of well-known resonances in the 2H-spectrum allow to differentiate the individual metabolite resonances by their reaction to different phase cycles in an SSFP imaging sequence. Compared to standard chemical shift imaging techniques, this approach is expected to increase the SNR by a factor of two or more. This novel spectroscopic technique will be implemented for both humans and animals and can, in combination with the ultra-high field strengths at our scanners and our in-house built highly sensitive array coils, improve the investigation of pathologies like cancer.

Deuterium image of a phantom and signal variations due to phase cycling for the different metabolites.

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