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The study of stroke has historically made use of traditional spectroscopy techniques to provide the ground truth for parameters like pH. However, techniques like 31P spectroscopy have limitations, in particular poor temporal and spatial resolution, coupled with a need for a high field strength and specialized coils. More modern magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)-based imaging techniques like chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) have been developed to counter some of these limitations but lack the definitive gold standard for pH that 31P spectroscopy provides. In this perspective, both the traditional (31P spectroscopy) and emerging (CEST) techniques in the measurement of pH for ischemic imaging will be discussed. Although each has its own advantages and limitations, it is likely that CEST may be preferable simply due to the hardware, acquisition time and image resolution advantages. However, more experiments on CEST are needed to determine the specificity of endogenous CEST to absolute pH, and 31P MRS can be used to calibrate CEST for pH measurement in the preclinical model to enhance our understanding of the relationship between CEST and pH. Combining the two imaging techniques, one old and one new, we may be able to obtain new insights into stroke physiology that would not be possible otherwise with either alone.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Physiol

Publication Date





31P, chemical exchange saturation transfer, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, pH, stroke