Sodium-23-nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of the rabbit kidney in vivo

S. D. Wolff, J. Eng, B. A. Berkowitz, S. James, R. S. Balaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The mechanism by which the mammalian kidney generates a concentration gradient of sodium from cortex to papilla is still not entirely understood. Studies of how the kidney as an organ generates this gradient have been hampered by the lack of a noninvasive method for monitoring the intrarenal sodium distribution. Herein, we demonstrate the value of sodium-23 nuclear magnetic resonance (23Na-NMR) imaging to nondestructively assess the intrarenal sodium distribution. 23Na-NMR images were obtained from a surgically exposed kidney preparation that showed the two-dimensional distribution of sodium in the rabbit kidney. In the antidiuretic kidney this gradient resulted in papillary sodium concentrations that were approximately threefold higher than cortical values. Serial 23Na-NMR images obtained during saline infusion demonstrated the kinetics by which the sodium gradient increases with diuresis. The half-time for 23Na washout of the medulla of the kidney was ~6 min with this protocol. In addition, a three-dimensional data set of the sodium distribution of the kidney was obtained with voxel dimensions of 1.5 mm3 by use of a three-dimensional 23Na-NMR imaging technique. Without surgical exposure, 23Na-NMR images of the rabbit kidney were collected under completely noninvasive conditions by use of a surface coil. The 23Na-NMR signal from the kidney was easily detected; however, to obtain images of comparable signal-to-noise ratio to the surgically exposed kidney, spatial and temporal resolution were significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1125-F1131
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number4 27-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • diuresis
  • furosemide
  • renal cortex
  • renal medulla
  • surface coil
  • three-dimensional imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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