by Mary L. Mazzanti, Ronn P. Walvick, Xin Zhou, Yanping Sun, Niral Shah, Joey Mansour, Jessica Gereige, Mitchell S. Albert
In hyperpolarized xenon magnetic resonance imaging (HP 129Xe MRI), the inhaled spin-1/2 isotope of xenon gas is used to generate the MR signal. Because hyperpolarized xenon is an MR signal source with properties very different from those generated from water-protons, HP 129Xe MRI may yield structural and functional information not detectable by conventional proton-based MRI methods. Here we demonstrate the differential distribution of HP 129Xe in the cerebral cortex of the rat following a pain stimulus evoked in the animal's forepaw. Areas of higher HP 129Xe signal corresponded to those areas previously demonstrated by conventional functional MRI (fMRI) methods as being activated by a forepaw pain stimulus. The percent increase in HP 129Xe signal over baseline was 13–28%, and was detectable with a single set of pre and post stimulus images. Recent innovations in the production of highly polarized 129Xe should make feasible the emergence of HP 129Xe MRI as a viable adjunct method to conventional MRI for the study of brain function and disease.