Imaging Acute Metabolic Changes in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Using Hyperpolarized [1-13C]Pyruvate

Edward P. Hackett, Marco C. Pinho, Crystal E. Harrison, Galen D. Reed, Jeff Liticker, Jaffar Raza, Ronald G. Hall, Craig R. Malloy, Surendra Barshikar, Christopher J. Madden, Jae Mo Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves complex secondary injury processes following the primary injury. The secondary injury is often associated with rapid metabolic shifts and impaired brain function immediately after the initial tissue damage. Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) coupled with hyperpolarization of 13C-labeled substrates provides a unique opportunity to map the metabolic changes in the brain after traumatic injury in real-time without invasive procedures. In this report, we investigated two patients with acute mild TBI (Glasgow coma scale 15) but no anatomical brain injury or hemorrhage. Patients were imaged with hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate MRSI 1 or 6 days after head trauma. Both patients showed significantly reduced bicarbonate (HCO3) production, and one showed hyperintense lactate production at the injured sites. This study reports the feasibility of imaging altered metabolism using hyperpolarized pyruvate in patients with TBI, demonstrating the translatability and sensitivity of the technology to cerebral metabolic changes after mild TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101885
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 18 2020


  • Biological Sciences
  • Clinical Neuroscience
  • Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience
  • Techniques in Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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