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Phosphorus MRSI (31P-MRSI) using a spiral-trajectory readout at 7 T was developed for high temporal resolution mapping of the mitochondrial capacity of exercising human skeletal muscle. The sensitivity and localization accuracy of the method was investigated in phantoms. In vivo performance was assessed in 12 volunteers, who performed a plantar flexion exercise inside a whole-body 7 T MR scanner using an MR-compatible ergometer and a surface coil. In five volunteers the knee was flexed (~60°) to shift the major workload from the gastrocnemii to the soleus muscle. Spiral-encoded MRSI provided 16-25 times faster mapping with a better point spread function than elliptical phase-encoded MRSI with the same matrix size. The inevitable trade-off for the increased temporal resolution was a reduced signal-to-noise ratio, but this was acceptable. The phosphocreatine (PCr) depletion caused by exercise at 0° knee angulation was significantly higher in both gastrocnemii than in the soleus (i.e. 64.8 ± 19.6% and 65.9 ± 23.6% in gastrocnemius lateralis and medialis versus 15.3 ± 8.4% in the soleus). Spiral-encoded31P-MRSI is a powerful tool for dynamic mapping of exercising muscle oxidative metabolism, including localized assessment of PCr concentrations, pH and maximal oxidative flux with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Original publication




Journal article


NMR Biomed

Publication Date





1825 - 1834


MRSI, dynamic 31P-MRS, high energy phosphate, skeletal muscle, spiral spectroscopic imaging, ultra-high field, Adult, Energy Metabolism, Exercise, Exercise Tolerance, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Mitochondria, Muscle, Molecular Imaging, Muscle, Skeletal, Phosphocreatine, Phosphorus Isotopes, Radiopharmaceuticals, Range of Motion, Articular, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity