Assessing inflammatory liver injury in an acute CCl4 model using dynamic 3D metabolic imaging of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate

Sonal Josan, Kelvin Billingsley, Juan Orduna, Jae Mo Park, Richard Luong, Liqing Yu, Ralph Hurd, Adolf Pfefferbaum, Daniel Spielman, Dirk Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


To facilitate diagnosis and staging of liver disease, sensitive and non-invasive methods for the measurement of liver metabolism are needed. This study used hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate to assess metabolic parameters in a CCl4 model of liver damage in rats. Dynamic 3D 13C chemical shift imaging data from a volume covering kidney and liver were acquired from 8 control and 10 CCl4-treated rats. At 12 time points at 5 s temporal resolution, we quantified the signal intensities and established time courses for pyruvate, alanine, and lactate. These measurements were compared with standard liver histology and an alanine transaminase (ALT) enzyme assay using liver tissue from the same animals. All CCl4-treated but none of the control animals showed histological liver damage and elevated ALT enzyme levels. In agreement with these results, metabolic imaging revealed an increased alanine/pyruvate ratio in liver of CCl4-treated rats, which is indicative of elevated ALT activity. Similarly, lactate/pyruvate ratios were higher in CCl4-treated compared with control animals, demonstrating the presence of inflammation. No significant differences in metabolite ratios were observed in kidney or vasculature. Thus this work shows that metabolic imaging using 13C-pyruvate can be a successful tool to non-invasively assess liver damage in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1677
Number of pages7
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • CCl
  • Hyperpolarized C
  • Inflammation
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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