Jannie P Wijnen*1, 2, Kannie WY Chan*1, 3, Peter CM van Zijl1, 4, Michael T McMahon**1, 4, Kristine Glunde**1
1Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States; 2Department of Radiology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands; 3Cellular Imaging Section and Vascular Biology Program, Institute for Cell Engineering, Baltimore, MD, United States; 4F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, United States
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) detects high levels of total choline-containing metabolites (tCho) in malignant cancers, which is important for cancer diagnosis and therapy. 1H MRS measures the tCho levels, but cannot resolve the overlapping signals of free choline (Cho), PC, and GPC that the tCho signal consists of. To develop novel imaging approaches with high molecular specificity, we have explored Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) to monitor exchangeable protons of phospholipid metabolites. The CEST contrast at 1.2 ppm correlated with the Cho level measured by high-resolution MRS in cell extracts, and could be used to assess malignancy in breast cancers.