To study the metabolism of organic molecules in vivo, exogenous labeled 13C substrates can be studied using MRI. However the low sensibility and the long acquisition time required have limited the applications of this technique for in vivo studies. The recent development of dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) has opened new horizons for the metabolic studies a gain in sensitivity of about 10.000 is obtained for 13C-enriched substrates during a short period of time (a few minutes)
The WSIC is currently equipped with a hyperpolarizing system, SpinLab™ DNP polarizer (GE Healthcare), using a dedicated fluid path and allowing to hyperpolarize a number of samples at the same time. Hyperpolarized molecules can be used to study metabolic pathways in various tissues and enable to elucidate relevant mechanisms involved in disease progression and to identify possible targets for drug development and pharmacological intervention.