The roster of molecular imaging methods has been recently extended by the introduction of deuterium metabolic imaging (DMI), whereby after administration of a deuterated precursor in rodents or humans, deuterium MRS and MRSI is used to examine metabolic products such as glutamine/glutamate or lactate when applied to brain studies. Here we examine its use for imaging pregnancy-related conditions such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. Late-term pregnant ICR mice at around day 19 of gestation were administered with either uniformly deuterated glucose or glucose selectively doubly deuterated on C6 position intravenously at a dose of 2.3 g/kg body-weight. Deuterium chemical-shift imaging (CSI) and non-localized MRS were then performed on a Bruker-Biospec at 15.2T with a “sandwich setup” whereby a 20x45 mm Bruker 1H butterfly surface coil was placed underneath the mouse abdomen, and a customized 20 mm single-loop surface coil tuned to deuterium at 99.8 MHz placed on top of the mouse belly. Slice-selective 1H anatomical and 2H CSI data were then acquired; the latter delivered one 3D data set every 7 min with a FA 90 deg, TR 100 ms, slice thickness 7 mm, FOV 45x45 mm, and a matrix size of 8x8, which was interpolated to 32x32 elements.
Deuterated glucose was predominantly observed localized in the maternal kidney, dropping significantly after 40 min while having its peak in the entire fetal tissue. As a main product of metabolism HDO was observed, formed mostly in the fetuses and with an intensity that grew even 3h after injection. Although of low S/N, lactate maps indicate maximum lactate production 50-70 min after injection localized in fetal livers.
We conclude that DMI may offer new ways of prolonged molecular imaging for monitoring of pregnancy conditions at thermal polarization. Further animal studies of these models as well as of cancer models are ongoing.