Harald E. Mller1,2, Zackary I. Cleveland1, Laurence W. Hedlund1, Boma Fubara1, Gary P. Cofer1, Bastiaan Driehuys1
1Center for In Vivo Microscopy, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA; 2Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
Imaging pulmonary perfusion using venous injection of hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe dissolved in saline was recently demonstrated. However, relatively large volumes of saline are required for this procedure and this ultimately limits the achievable image resolution. In the present study, we circumvent this problem using extracorporeal circulation of the blood through a gas exchange membrane to continuously return to the animal, blood enriched with HP 129Xe for imaging gas exchange processes in the rat. This continuity of signal increases the available imaging time and should enable high-resolution MRI of perfusion.