The overall Program Project focuses on the design and detection of bioorganic biodegradable Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) agents, with the ultimate goal of their practical application to cellular and molecular labeling and the imaging of drug delivery and gene expression in animals and humans. Much work is needed to make the use of such agents possible on a daily basis in the clinic. The overall goal of Project 1 is to develop quantitative IMRI approaches for detecting both exogenous and endogenous CEST agents in situ. As such, this project focuses on the design of new MRI pulse sequences to label and detect exchangeable protons, on the quantification of contrast generated by CEST agents, and on translation from phantoms to animal models and to humans. During these developments, we will be interacting closely with projects 2 and 3 to assure that we always have the best agents and that the technology is optimized for the actual agents being used under in vivo conditions. To accomplish our goal, we have set several specific aims:
In AIM 1. we will develop new magnetic labeling schemes for detecting exchangeable protons. Until now, magnetization transfer (MT) processes in vivo have only been detected using transfer of induced saturation, both radio-frequency (RF) induced and dephasing induced. We will develop and optimize novel approaches for magnetic labeling that do not employ RF saturation, but instead a series of so-called Label-Transfer Modules (LTMs), each including a labeling section and exchange transfer section. We will use these to design frequency-selective inversion and dephasing label-transfer approaches, as well as methods based on frequency modulation, such as can be induced using chemical shifts and scalar coupling and detected using approaches similar to multi-dimensional Fourier-Transform (FT) NMR.
In AIM 2. we focus on quantification of the water contrast caused by CEST agents. Proper quantification requires uncontaminated signal and thus selective detection of the effect of the agents through removal of the interfering effects of competing magnetization transfer processes and the detrimental effects of inhomogeneities in both static magnetic field (Bo) and applied radiofrequency field (Bi). Approaches to measure absolute concentrations will be designed and optimized and subsequently validated using known concentrations in phantoms. Finally, in AIM 3, we focus on translation of the developed exchange technologies to animal and human systems. This relates to the selective detection of both endogenous and exogenous CEST agents in vivo. The technologies developed in vitro in aims 1 and 2 will be implemented on both animal scanners (11.7T, 17.6T) and human scanners (3T, 7T). Both single-slice and multi-slice/3D MRI exchange-transfer technologies will be developed for this purpose. In the animal studies, we will evaluate endogenous effects as well as the exogenous systems developed in Projects 2 and 3. On the human scanners we will focus on endogenous compounds.
These aims are expected to result in the availability of quantifiable exchange transfer contrast MRI approaches in vivo, optimized with respect to the specific drug-delivery and gene expression systems in animals and ready for application in humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-C (J1))
Program Officer
Liu, Guoying
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Hugo W. Moser Research Institute Kennedy Krieger
United States
Zip Code
Yadav, Nirbhay N; Yang, Xing; Li, Yuguo et al. (2017) Detection of dynamic substrate binding using MRI. Sci Rep 7:10138
Zhang, Jia; Li, Yuguo; Slania, Stephanie et al. (2017) Phenols as Diamagnetic T2 -Exchange Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agents. Chemistry :
van Zijl, Peter C M; Lam, Wilfred W; Xu, Jiadi et al. (2017) Magnetization Transfer Contrast and Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer MRI. Features and analysis of the field-dependent saturation spectrum. Neuroimage :
Lee, Dong-Hoon; Heo, Hye-Young; Zhang, Kai et al. (2017) Quantitative assessment of the effects of water proton concentration and water T1 changes on amide proton transfer (APT) and nuclear overhauser enhancement (NOE) MRI: The origin of the APT imaging signal in brain tumor. Magn Reson Med 77:855-863
Ryoo, David; Xu, Xiang; Li, Yuguo et al. (2017) Detection and Quantification of Hydrogen Peroxide in Aqueous Solutions Using Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer. Anal Chem 89:7758-7764
Chen, Lin; Zeng, Haifeng; Xu, Xiang et al. (2017) Investigation of the contribution of total creatine to the CEST Z-spectrum of brain using a knockout mouse model. NMR Biomed 30:
Xu, Jiadi; Chan, Kannie W Y; Xu, Xiang et al. (2017) On-resonance variable delay multipulse scheme for imaging of fast-exchanging protons and semisolid macromolecules. Magn Reson Med 77:730-739
Heo, Hye-Young; Zhang, Yi; Burton, Tina M et al. (2017) Improving the detection sensitivity of pH-weighted amide proton transfer MRI in acute stroke patients using extrapolated semisolid magnetization transfer reference signals. Magn Reson Med 78:871-880
Jiang, Shanshan; Zou, Tianyu; Eberhart, Charles G et al. (2017) Predicting IDH mutation status in grade II gliomas using amide proton transfer-weighted (APTw) MRI. Magn Reson Med 78:1100-1109
Jiang, Shanshan; Eberhart, Charles G; Zhang, Yi et al. (2017) Amide proton transfer-weighted magnetic resonance image-guided stereotactic biopsy in patients with newly diagnosed gliomas. Eur J Cancer 83:9-18

Showing the most recent 10 out of 56 publications