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Enhancing the spatial resolution of hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI of human brain metabolism using structure guidance.

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Ehrhardt, Matthias J  ORCID logo
Gallagher, Ferdia A 
McLean, Mary A 
Schönlieb, Carola-Bibiane 


PURPOSE: Dynamic nuclear polarization is an emerging imaging method that allows noninvasive investigation of tissue metabolism. However, the relatively low metabolic spatial resolution that can be achieved limits some applications, and improving this resolution could have important implications for the technique. METHODS: We propose to enhance the 3D resolution of carbon-13 magnetic resonance imaging (13 C-MRI) using the structural information provided by hydrogen-1 MRI (1 H-MRI). The proposed approach relies on variational regularization in 3D with a directional total variation regularizer, resulting in a convex optimization problem which is robust with respect to the parameters and can efficiently be solved by many standard optimization algorithms. Validation was carried out using an in silico phantom, an in vitro phantom and in vivo data from four human volunteers. RESULTS: The clinical data used in this study were upsampled by a factor of 4 in-plane and by a factor of 15 out-of-plane, thereby revealing occult information. A key finding is that 3D super-resolution shows superior performance compared to several 2D super-resolution approaches: for example, for the in silico data, the mean-squared-error was reduced by around 40% and for all data produced increased anatomical definition of the metabolic imaging. CONCLUSION: The proposed approach generates images with enhanced anatomical resolution while largely preserving the quantitative measurements of metabolism. Although the work requires clinical validation against tissue measures of metabolism, it offers great potential in the field of 13 C-MRI and could significantly improve image quality in the future.



human brain, hyperpolarized 13C, magnetic resonance imaging, super-resolution, variational regularization, Algorithms, Brain, Carbon Isotopes, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Phantoms, Imaging

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Magn Reson Med

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Cancer Research UK (unknown)
Cancer Research UK (C14303/A17197)
Cancer Research UK (C12912/A27150)
Cancer Research UK (C19212/A29082)
EPSRC (EP/S026045/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (777826)
Mark Foundation Institute for Cancer Research Leverhulme Trust ECF‐2019‐478 Philip Leverhulme Prize Wellcome Trust RG98755 Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Alan Turing Institute Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information H2020 European Research Council 777826 National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Cancer Research UK C19212/A16628 C19212/A911376 C19212/A27150 C968 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council EP/S026045/1 EP/T026693/1 EP/T007745/1 EP/T0035