Zackary I. Cleveland1, Harald E. Mller1,2, Laurence W. Hedlund1, Gary P. Cofer1, Boma Fubara1, 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
Because of its solubility in tissues and sensitivity to the local chemical environment, hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe may become a powerful MRI contrast agent. For this potential to be realized, however, techniques to deliver HP 129Xe to the blood with high non-equilibrium polarization must be developed. Toward this end, a novel method of continuously infusing hyperpolarized 129Xe into flowing aqueous solutions, including whole blood, based upon microporous hydrophobic gas exchange membranes is introduced. With proper optimization, the signal intensity observed from HP 129Xe in solution is sufficient to produce dissolved phase 129Xe MR images with sub-millimeter resolution.