Establishing an accurate gas phase reference frequency to quantify 129Xe chemical shifts in vivo

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129Xe interacts with biological media to exhibit chemical shifts exceeding 200 ppm that report on physiology and pathology. Extracting this functional information requires shifts to be measured precisely. Historically, shifts have been reported relative to the gas-phase resonance originating from pulmonary airspaces. However, this frequency is not fixed—it is affected by bulk magnetic susceptibility, as well as Xe–N2, Xe–Xe, and Xe–O2 interactions. In this study, we addressed this by introducing a robust method to determine the 0 ppm 129Xe reference from in vivo data.


Respiratory-gated hyperpolarized 129Xe spectra from the gas- and dissolved-phases were acquired in four mice at 2T from multiple axial slices within the thoracic cavity. Complex spectra were then fitted in the time domain to identify peaks.


Gas-phase 129Xe exhibited two distinct resonances corresponding to 129Xe in conducting airways (varying from −0.6 ± 0.2 to 1.3 ± 0.3 ppm) and alveoli (relatively stable, at −2.2 ± 0.1 ppm). Dissolved-phase 129Xe exhibited five reproducible resonances in the thorax at 198.4 ± 0.4, 195.5 ± 0.4, 193.9 ± 0.2, 191.3 ± 0.2, and 190.7 ± 0.3 ppm.


The alveolar 129Xe resonance exhibits a stable frequency across all mice. Therefore, it can provide a reliable in vivo reference frequency by which to characterize other spectroscopic shifts. Magn Reson Med 77:1438–1445, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

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