Hyperpolarized Xenon-129 gas-exchange imaging of lung microstructure: first case studies in subjects with obstructive lung disease


Purpose: To develop and test a method to noninvasively assess the functional lung microstructure. Materials and Methods: The Multiple exchange time Xenon polarization Transfer Contrast technique (MXTC) encodes xenon gas-exchange contrast at multiple delay times permitting two lung-function parameters to be derived: (i) MXTC-F, the long exchange-time depolarization value, which is proportional to the tissue to alveolar-volume ratio and MXTC-S, the square root of the xenon exchange-time constant, which characterizes thickness and composition of alveolar septa. Three healthy volunteers, one asthmatic, and two chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (GOLD stage I and II) subjects were imaged with MXTC MRI. In a subset of subjects, hyperpolarized xenon-129 ADC MRI and CT imaging were also performed. Results: The MXTC-S parameter was found to be elevated In subjects with lung disease (P-value = 0.018). In the MXTC-F parameter map it was feasible to identify regional loss of functional tissue in a COPD patient. MXTC-F maps showed excellent regional correlation with CT and ADC (P >= 0.90) In one COPD subject. Conclusion: The functional tissue-density parameter MXTC-F showed regional agreement with other imaging techniques. The newly developed parameter MXTC-S, which characterizes the functional thickness of alveolar septa, has potential as a novel biomarker for regional parenchymal inflammation or thickening.



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Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging



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Copyright 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc