Hyperpolarized lithium-6 as a sensor of nanomolar contrast agents

Ruud B. Van Heeswijk, Kai Uffmann, Arnaud Comment, Fiodar Kurdzesau, Chiara Perazzolo, Cristina Cudalbu, Sami Jannin, Jacobus A. Konter, Patrick Hautle, Ben Van Den Brandt, Gil Navon, Jacques J. Van Der Klink, Rolf Gruetter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lithium is widely used in psychotherapy. The 6Li isotope has a long intrinsic longitudinal relaxation time T1 on the order of minutes, making it an ideal candidate for hyperpolarization experiments. In the present study we demonstrated that lithium-6 can be readily hyperpolarized within 30 min, while retaining a long polarization decay time on the order of a minute. We used the intrinsically long relaxation time for the detection of 500 nM contrast agent in vitro. Hyperpolarized lithium-6 was administered to the rat and its signal retained a decay time on the order of 70 sec in vivo. Localization experiments imply that the lithium signal originated from within the brain and that it was detectable up to 5 min after administration. We conclude that the detection of submicromolar contrast agents using hyperpolarized NMR nuclei such as 6Li may provide a novel avenue for molecular imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-1493
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeR01NS042005


    • DNP
    • Hyperpolarization
    • Lithium-6
    • Relaxivity


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