On neglecting chemical exchange effects when correcting in Vivo 31 P MRS data for partial saturation

Ronald Ouwerkerk, Paul A. Bottomley

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Signal acquisition in most MRS experiments requires a correction for partial saturation that is commonly based on a single exponential model for T 1 that ignores effects of chemical exchange. We evaluated the errors in 31 P MRS measurements introduced by this approximation in two-, three-, and four-site chemical exchange models under a range of flip-angles and pulse sequence repetition times (T R ) that provide near-optimum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In two-site exchange, such as the creatine-kinase reaction involving phosphocreatine (PCr) and γ-ATP in human skeletal and cardiac muscle, errors in saturation factors were determined for the progressive saturation method and the dual-angle method of measuring T 1 . The analysis shows that these errors are negligible for the progressive saturation method if the observed T 1 is derived from a three-parameter fit of the data. When T 1 is measured with the dual-angle method, errors in saturation factors are less than 5% for all conceivable values of the chemical exchange rate and flip-angles that deliver useful SNR per unit time over the range T 1 /5 ≤ T R ≤ 2T 1 . Errors are also less than 5% for three- and four-site exchange when T R ≥ T 1 */2, the so-called "intrinsic" T 1 's of the metabolites. The effect of changing metabolite concentrations and chemical exchange rates on observed T 1 's and saturation corrections was also examined with a three-site chemical exchange model involving ATP, PCr, and inorganic phosphate in skeletal muscle undergoing up to 95% PCr depletion. Although the observed T 1 's were dependent on metabolite concentrations, errors in saturation corrections for T R = 2 s could be kept within 5% for all exchanging metabolites using a simple interpolation of two dual-angle T 1 measurements performed at the start and end of the experiment. Thus, the single-exponential model appears to be reasonably accurate for correcting 31 P MRS data for partial saturation in the presence of chemical exchange. Even in systems where metabolite concentrations change, accurate saturation corrections are possible without much loss in SNR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-435
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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