Automated transfer and injection of hyperpolarized molecules with polarization measurement prior to in vivo NMR
Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance via dissolution dynamic nuclear polarization necessitates the transfer of the hyperpolarized molecules from the polarizer to the imager prior to in vivo measurements. This process leads to unavoidable losses in nuclear polarization, which are difficult to evaluate once the solution has been injected into an animal. We propose a method to measure the polarization of the hyperpolarized molecules inside the imager bore, 3 s following dissolution, at the time of the injection, using a precise quantification of the infusate concentration. This in situ quantification allows for distinguishing between signal modulations related to variations in the nuclear polarization at the time of the injection and signal modulations related to physiological processes such as tissue perfusion. In addition, our method includes a radical scavenging process that leads to a minor reduction in sample concentration and takes place within a couple of seconds following the dissolution in order to minimize the losses due to the presence of paramagnetic polarizing agent in the infusate. We showed that proton exchange between vitamin C, the scavenging molecule and the deuterated solvent shortens the long carboxyl (13) C longitudinal relaxation time in [1-(13) C]acetate. This additional source of dipolar relaxation can be avoided by using deuterated ascorbate. Overall, the method allows for a substantial gain in polarization and also leads to an extension of the time window available for in vivo measurements. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.