Four-angle saturation transfer (FAST) method for measuring creatine kinase reaction rates in vivo

Paul A. Bottomley, Ronald Ouwerkerk, Ray F. Lee, Robert G. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


A new fast method of measuring kinetic reaction rates for two-site chemical exchange is described. The method employs saturation transfer magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and acquisition of only four spectra under partially saturated, high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) conditions. In two acquisitions one of the exchanging species is saturated; the other two employ a control saturation. Each pair of acquisitions is applied with two different flip angles, and the equilibrium magnetization, relaxation times, and reaction rates are calculated therefrom. This four-angle saturation transfer (FAST) method is validated theoretically using the Bloch equations modified for two-state chemical exchange. Potential errors in the rate measurements due to the effects of exchange are evaluated for creatine kinase (CK) metabolism modeled for skeletal and heart muscle, and are found to be <5% for forward CK flux rates of 0.05 ≤ kf ≤ 1.0 s-1, and up to a 90% depletion of phosphocreatine (PCr). The effect of too much or too little saturating irradiation on FAST appears to be comparable to that of the conventional saturation transfer method, although the relative performance deteriorates when spillover irradiation cuts the PCr signal by 50% or more. "FASTer" and "FASTest" protocols are introduced for dynamic CK studies wherein [PCr] and/or kf changes. These protocols permit the omission of one or two of the four acquisitions in repeat experiments, and the missing information is recreated from initial data via a new iterative algorithm. The FAST method is validated empirically in phosphorus (31P) MRS studies of human calf muscle at 1.5 T. FAST measurements of 10 normal volunteers yielded the same CK reaction rates measured by the conventional method (0.29 ± 0.06 s-1) in the same subjects, but an average of seven times faster. Application of the FASTer algorithm to these data correctly restored missing information within seven iterations. Finally, the FAST method was combined with 1D spatially localized 31P MRS in a study of six volunteers, yielding the same kf values independent of depth, in total acquisition times of 17-39 min. These timesaving FAST methods are enabling because they permit localized measurements of metabolic flux, which were previously impractical due to intolerably long scan times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-863
Number of pages14
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Creatine kinase
  • Energy metabolism
  • High-energy phosphate
  • Reaction rates
  • Saturation transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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