Creating a clinical platform for carbon-13 studies using the sodium-23 and proton resonances

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Esben S S Hansen
  • Juan D Sánchez-Heredia
  • Mary A McLean
  • Rasmus Tougaard
  • Frank Riemer
  • Rolf F Schulte
  • Joshua D Kaggie
  • Jan Henrik Ardenkjaer-Larsen
  • Christoffer Laustsen
  • Ferdia A Gallagher

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Technical University of Denmark, Hørsholm, Denmark.
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
  • GE Healthcare Berlin Germany


PURPOSE: Calibration of hyperpolarized 13 C-MRI is limited by the low signal from endogenous carbon-containing molecules and consequently requires 13 C-enriched external phantoms. This study investigated the feasibility of using either 23 Na-MRI or 1 H-MRI to calibrate the 13 C excitation.

METHODS: Commercial 13 C-coils were used to estimate the transmit gain and center frequency for 13 C and 23 Na resonances. Simulations of the transmit B1 profile of a Helmholtz loop were performed. Noise correlation was measured for both nuclei. A retrospective analysis of human data assessing the use of the 1 H resonance to predict [1-13 C]pyruvate center frequency was also performed. In vivo experiments were undertaken in the lower limbs of 6 pigs following injection of hyperpolarized 13 C-pyruvate.

RESULTS: The difference in center frequencies and transmit gain between tissue 23 Na and [1-13 C]pyruvate was reproducible, with a mean scale factor of 1.05179 ± 0.00001 and 10.4 ± 0.2 dB, respectively. Utilizing the 1 H water peak, it was possible to retrospectively predict the 13 C-pyruvate center frequency with a standard deviation of only 11 Hz sufficient for spectral-spatial excitation-based studies.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the feasibility of using the 23 Na and 1 H resonances to calibrate the 13 C transmit B1 using commercially available 13 C-coils. The method provides a simple approach for in vivo calibration and could improve clinical workflow.

Bibliographic note

© 2020 The Authors. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.


Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Early online date13 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2020


  • MRI, calibration, carbon-13, hyperpolarized, sodium-23