The pharmacokinetics of hyperpolarized xenon: Implications for cerebral MRI

Charles C. Martin, Robert F. Williams, Jia Hong Gao, Lisa D.H. Nickerson, Jinhu Xiong, Peter T. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In this work, a compartmental model to predict the concentration of hyperpolarized xenon (Xe) in the brain is developed based on the well established kinetics of Xe and estimated T1 values for the compartments. For the gaseous compartments, T1 was set to 12 seconds. For the tissue compartments, T1 was set to 6 seconds. Three gas delivery techniques were modeled: hyperventilation followed by breath-hold, continual breathing, and hyperventilation followed by continual breathing. Based on Xe CT, it is estimated that the maximum concentration of Xe that could be breathed is 80%. Based on this value and the estimated maximum polarization of 50%, the peak gray matter concentration of hyperpolarized Xe is calculated to be .036 mM. This leads to an estimated signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), at 2 T, for hyperpolarized Xe that is a factor of 50 lower than the SNR for proton MRI. The peak concentration of hyperpolarized Xe was also calculated over a wide range of gas and tissue T1 values. This model also predicts that the arterial blood will have a concentration of hyperpolarized Xe that is 10 times greater than the concentration in gray matter. An interactive version of the model can be found on the World Wide Web at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)848-854
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Hyperpolarized gases
  • MRI
  • Xenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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