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Deuterium metabolic imaging (DMI) is an emerging magnetic resonance technique, for non-invasive mapping of human brain glucose metabolism following oral or intravenous administration of deuterium-labeled glucose. Regional differences in glucose metabolism can be observed in various brain pathologies, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, epilepsy or schizophrenia, but the achievable spatial resolution of conventional phase-encoded DMI methods is limited due to prolonged acquisition times rendering submilliliter isotropic spatial resolution for dynamic whole brain DMI not feasible. The purpose of this study was to implement non-Cartesian spatial-spectral sampling schemes for whole-brain 2H FID-MR Spectroscopic Imaging to assess time-resolved metabolic maps with sufficient spatial resolution to reliably detect metabolic differences between healthy gray and white matter regions. Results were compared with lower-resolution DMI maps, conventionally acquired within the same session. Six healthy volunteers (4 m/2 f) were scanned for ~90 min after administration of 0.8 g/kg oral [6,6']-2H glucose. Time-resolved whole brain 2H FID-DMI maps of glucose (Glc) and glutamate + glutamine (Glx) were acquired with 0.75 and 2 mL isotropic spatial resolution using density-weighted concentric ring trajectory (CRT) and conventional phase encoding (PE) readout, respectively, at 7 T. To minimize the effect of decreased signal-to-noise ratios associated with smaller voxels, low-rank denoising of the spatiotemporal data was performed during reconstruction. Sixty-three minutes after oral tracer uptake three-dimensional (3D) CRT-DMI maps featured 19% higher (p = .006) deuterium-labeled Glc concentrations in GM (1.98 ± 0.43 mM) compared with WM (1.66 ± 0.36 mM) dominated regions, across all volunteers. Similarly, 48% higher (p = .01) 2H-Glx concentrations were observed in GM (2.21 ± 0.44 mM) compared with WM (1.49 ± 0.20 mM). Low-resolution PE-DMI maps acquired 70 min after tracer uptake featured smaller regional differences between GM- and WM-dominated areas for 2H-Glc concentrations with 2.00 ± 0.35 mM and 1.71 ± 0.31 mM, respectively (+16%; p = .045), while no regional differences were observed for 2H-Glx concentrations. In this study, we successfully implemented 3D FID-MRSI with fast CRT encoding for dynamic whole-brain DMI at 7 T with 2.5-fold increased spatial resolution compared with conventional whole-brain phase encoded (PE) DMI to visualize regional metabolic differences. The faster metabolic activity represented by 48% higher Glx concentrations was observed in GM- compared with WM-dominated regions, which could not be reproduced using whole-brain DMI with the low spatial resolution protocol. Improved assessment of regional pathologic alterations using a fully non-invasive imaging method is of high clinical relevance and could push DMI one step toward clinical applications.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Brain Mapp

Publication Date





3D magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, deuterium metabolic imaging, deuterium‐labeled glucose, downstream neurotransmitter synthesis, whole‐brain metabolic mapping