Biomedical applications of sodium MRI in vivo

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Abstract

In this article we present an up-to-date overview of the potential biomedical applications of sodium magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in vivo. Sodium MRI is a subject of increasing interest in translational imaging research as it can give some direct and quantitative biochemical information on the tissue viability, cell integrity and function, and therefore not only help the diagnosis but also the prognosis of diseases and treatment outcomes. It has already been applied in vivo in most human tissues, such as brain for stroke or tumor detection and therapeutic response, in breast cancer, in articular cartilage, in muscle, and in kidney, and it was shown in some studies that it could provide very useful new information not available through standard proton MRI. However, this technique is still very challenging due to the low detectable sodium signal in biological tissue with MRI and hardware/software limitations of the clinical scanners. The article is divided in three parts: 1) the role of sodium in biological tissues, 2) a short review on sodium magnetic resonance, and 3) a review of some studies on sodium MRI on different organs/diseases to date. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;38:511–529. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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