Virgincar, Rohan S., Jerry Dahlke, Scott H. Robertson, Nathann Morand, Yi Qi, Simone Degan, Bastiaan Driehuys, and John C. Nouls. “A Portable Ventilator with Integrated Physiologic Monitoring for Hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI in Rodents.” Journal of Magnetic Resonance 295 (October 2018): 63–71.
Hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe MRI is emerging as a powerful, non-invasive method to image lung function and is beginning to find clinical application across a range of conditions. As clinical implementation progresses, it becomes important to translate back to well-defined animal models, where novel disease signatures can be characterized longitudinally and validated against histology. To date, preclinical 129Xe MRI has been limited to only a few sites worldwide with 2D imaging that is not generally sufficient to fully capture the heterogeneity of lung disease. To address these limitations and facilitate broader dissemination, we report on a compact and portable HP gas ventilator that integrates all the gas-delivery and physiologic monitoring capabilities required for high-resolution 3D hyperpolarized 129Xe imaging. This ventilator is MR- and HP-gas compatible, driven by inexpensive microcontrollers and open source code, and allows for precise control of the tidal volume and breathing cycle in perorally intubated mice and rats. We use the system to demonstrate data acquisition over multiple breath-holds, during which lung motion is suspended to enable high-resolution 3D imaging of gas-phase and dissolved-phase 129Xe in the lungs. We demonstrate the portability and versatility of the ventilator by imaging a mouse model of lung cancer longitudinally at 2-Tesla, and a healthy rat at 7 T. We also report the detection of subtle spectroscopic fluctuations in phase with the heart rate, superimposed onto larger variations stemming from the respiratory cycle. This ventilator was developed to facilitate duplication and gain broad adoption to accelerate preclinical 129Xe MRI research.