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Probing metabolic processes in vivo by MRI of hyperpolarized nuclei.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an extraordinary powerful diagnostic technique that allows to track metabolic processes in living subjects, thanks to the influence of the local chemical environment on the nuclear Larmor frequency. Such a unique capability has been underexploited so far due to the inherently low sensitivity of the technique. In this talk we will review how the MRI signal-to-noise ratio of endogenous probes can be increased by a factor up to five orders of magnitude, using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP). Basic physical concepts and cutting edge applications of DNP will be analyzed and discussed.