Human skeletal muscle: Sodium MR imaging and quantification - Potential applications in exercise and disease

Chris D. Constantinides, Joseph S. Gillen, Fernando E. Boada, Martin G. Pomper, Paul A. Bottomley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To use sodium 23 magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to quatify non-invasively total sodium in human muscle and to apply the technique in exercise and musculoskeletal disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Total [Na] sodium was determined from the ratio of the relaxation-corrected 23Na signal intensities measured from short echo-time (0.4 msec) 23Na images to those from an external saline solution reference. The method was validated with the blinded use of saline solutions of varying sodium concentrations. [Na] was measured in the calf muscles in 10 healthy volunteers. 23Na MR imaging also was performed in two healthy subjects after exercise, two patients with myotonic dystrophy, and two patients with osteoarthritis. RESULTS: 23Na MR imaging yielded a total [Na] value of 28.4 mmol/kg of wet weight ± 3.6 (SD) in normal muscle, consistent with prior biopsy data. Spatial resolution was 0.22 mL, with signal-to-noise ratio of 10-15. Mean signal intensity elevations were 16% and 22% after exercise and 47% and 70% in dystrophic muscles compared with those at normal resting levels. In osteoarthritis, mean signal intensity reductions were 36% and 15% compared with those in unaffected knee joints. CONCLUSION: 23Na MR imaging can be used to quantify total [Na] in human muscle. The technique may facilitate understanding of the role of the sodium-potassium pump and perfusion in normal and diseased muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-568
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Arthritis, degenerative
  • Cartilage, MR
  • Magnetic resonance (MR), sodium studies
  • Magnetic resonance (MR), spectroscopy, three-dimensional
  • Muscles, MR
  • Muscles, diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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