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Investigating lung responses with functional hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI in an ex vivo rat model of asthma


David M.L. Lilburn

Joseph S. Six


Antony Habgood

Joanne Porte

Theodore Hughes-Riley

Gisli Jenkins


© 2015 The Authors. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Purpose: Asthma is a disease of increasing worldwide importance that calls for new investigative methods. Ex vivo lung tissue is being increasingly used to study functional respiratory parameters independent of confounding systemic considerations but also to reduce animal numbers and associated research costs. In this work, a straightforward laboratory method is advanced to probe dynamic changes in gas inhalation patterns by using an ex vivo small animal ovalbumin (OVA) model of human asthma. Methods: Hyperpolarized (hp) 129Xe was actively inhaled by the excised lungs exposed to a constant pressure differential that mimicked negative pleural cavity pressure. The method enabled hp 129Xe MRI of airway responsiveness to intravenous methacholine (MCh) and airway challenge reversal through salbutamol. Results: Significant differences were demonstrated between control and OVA challenged animals on global lung hp 129Xe gas inhalation with P < 0.05 at MCh dosages above 460 μg. Spatial mapping of the regional hp gas distribution revealed an approximately three-fold increase in heterogeneity for the asthma model organs. Conclusion: The experimental results from this proof of concept work suggest that the ex vivo hp noble gas imaging arrangement and the applied image analysis methodology may be useful as an adjunct to current diagnostic techniques. Magn Reson Med 76:1224–1235, 2016. © 2015 The Authors. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lilburn, D. M., Tatler, A. L., Six, J. S., Lesbats, C., Habgood, A., Porte, J., …Meersmann, T. (2015). Investigating lung responses with functional hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI in an ex vivo rat model of asthma. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 76(4), 1224-1235.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 8, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 28, 2015
Publication Date Oct 28, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2016
Journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Print ISSN 0740-3194
Electronic ISSN 1522-2594
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 76
Issue 4
Pages 1224-1235
Keywords pulmonary imaging; hyperpolarized noble gas
MRI; hp 129Xe; ovalbumin (OVA) rat model of asthma; methacholine challenges; airway hyper-responsiveness
Public URL
Publisher URL


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