University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hyperpolarized 129Xe Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Lung Function

September 2013 to September 2026

The proposed clinical trial is designed to evaluate the use of hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe as an inhaled inert contrast agent for imaging of the lungs. In this trial we will study subjects with normal lungs in the age range from 18-75 years. The primary goal is to determine if HP129Xe can be used effectively as a contrast agent during MRI to image the airway spaces in normal human lungs.

The primary objective of this study is to develop and evaluate the usefulness of hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe gas MRI for regional assessment of pulmonary function. Three forms of 129Xe MRI contrast will be our focus including: 1) imaging of the 129Xe ventilation distribution, 2) imaging the alveolar microstructure via the 129Xe apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and 3) imaging 129Xe that dissolves in the pulmonary blood and tissues upon inhalation. Imaging of 129Xe gas transfer is expected to be exceptionally sensitive to pathologies affecting gas exchange (fibrosis, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension) and provide new insights regarding the normal resting heterogeneity of pulmonary gas exchange.

This project led by: Sean B Fain, PhD