Inflammation is a central mechanism underlying numerous diseases and incorporates multiple known and potential future therapeutic targets. However, progress in developing novel immunomodulatory therapies has been slowed by a need for improvement in noninvasive biomarkers to accurately monitor the initiation, development and resolution of immune responses as well as their response to therapies. Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an emerging molecular imaging technique with the potential to assess immune cell responses by exploiting characteristic metabolic reprogramming in activated immune cells to support their function. Using specific metabolic tracers, hyperpolarized MRI can be used to produce detailed images of tissues producing lactate, a key metabolic signature in activated immune cells. This method has the potential to further our understanding of inflammatory processes across different diseases in human subjects as well as in preclinical models. This review discusses the application of hyperpolarized MRI to the imaging of inflammation, as well as the progress made towards the clinical translation of this emerging technique.
hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging, inflammation