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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death world-wide. It is increasingly recognised that cardiac pathologies show, or may even be caused by, changes in metabolism, leading to impaired cardiac energetics. The heart turns over 15 times its own weight in ATP every day and thus relies heavily on the availability of substrates and on efficient oxidation to generate this ATP. A number of old and emerging drugs that target different aspects of metabolism are showing promising results with regard to improved cardiac outcomes in patients. A non-invasive imaging technique that could assess the role of different aspects of metabolism in heart disease, as well as measure changes in cardiac energetics due to treatment, would be valuable in the routine clinical care of cardiac patients. Hyperpolarised magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging have revolutionised metabolic imaging, allowing real-time metabolic flux assessment in vivo for the first time. In this review we summarise metabolism in the healthy and diseased heart, give an introduction to the hyperpolarisation technique, 'dynamic nuclear polarisation' (DNP), and review the preclinical studies that have thus far explored healthy cardiac metabolism and different models of human heart disease. We furthermore show what advances have been made to translate this technique into the clinic, what technical challenges still remain and what unmet clinical needs and unexplored metabolic substrates still need to be assessed by researchers in this exciting and fast-moving field.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Nucl Magn Reson Spectrosc

Publication Date





66 - 87


(13)C, Cardiac, DNP, Hyperpolarised, Spectroscopy, Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Cardiovascular Diseases, Heart, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Myocardium