The development of chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) has led to the establishment of new contrast mechanisms in magnetic resonance imaging, which serve as enablers for advanced molecular imaging strategies. Macromolecules in tissues and organs often give rise to broad and asymmetric exchange effects, called magnetization transfer (MT) effects, which can mask the CEST contrast of interest. We show here that the saturation of these macromolecular pools simultaneously at two distinct frequencies can level out the asymmetric MT effects, thus allowing one to isolate the CEST effects in vivo. For the first time, clean CEST contrast for glycosaminoglycans (gagCEST) in cartilage in the human knee joint is presented. In addition, the method allows one to clearly demarcate glycosaminoglycan measurements from cartilage and synovial fluid regions. This uniform-MT CEST methodology has wide applicability in in vivo molecular imaging (such as brain, skeletal muscle, etc).
ASJC Scopus subject areas