Hyperpolarized (3) He and (129) Xe MRI: Differences in asthma before bronchodilation

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging : JMRI





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



PURPOSE: To compare hyperpolarized helium-3 ((3) He) and xenon-129 ((129) Xe) MRI in asthmatics before and after salbutamol inhalation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven asthmatics provided written informed consent and underwent spirometry, plethysmography, and MRI before and after salbutamol inhalation. (3) He and (129) Xe ventilation defect percent (VDP) and ventilation coefficient of variation (COV) were measured. To characterize the airways spatially related to ventilation defects, wall area percent (WA%) and lumen area (LA) were evaluated for two subjects who had thoracic x-ray computed tomography (CT) acquired 1 year before MRI.

RESULTS: Before salbutamol inhalation, (129) Xe VDP (8 ± 5%) was significantly greater than (3) He VDP (6 ± 5%, P = 0.003). Post-salbutamol, there was a significant improvement in both (129) Xe (5 ± 4%, P < 0.0001) and (3) He (4 ± 3%, P = 0.001) VDP, and the improvement in (129) Xe VDP was significantly greater (P = 0.008). (129) Xe MRI COV (Pre: 0.309 ± 0.028, Post: 0.296 ± 0.036) was significantly greater than (3) He MRI COV (Pre: 0.282 ± 0.018, Post: 0.269 ± 0.024), pre- (P < 0.0001) and post-salbutamol (P < 0.0001) and the decrease in COV post-salbutamol was significant ((129) Xe, P = 0.002; (3) He, P < 0.0001). For a single asthmatic, a sub-segmental (129) Xe MRI ventilation defect that was visible only before salbutamol inhalation but not visible using (3) He MRI was spatially related to a remodeled fourth generation sub-segmental airway (WA% = 78%, LA = 2.9 mm(2) ).

CONCLUSION: In asthma, hyperpolarized (129) Xe MRI may help reveal ventilation abnormalities before bronchodilation that are not observed using hyperpolarized (3) He MRI.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: S Svenningsen, M Kirby, D Starr, D Leary, A Wheatley, GN Maksym, DG McCormack & G Parraga (2013). Hyperpolarized (3)He and (129)Xe MRI: Differences in asthma before bronchodilation, 38(6): 1521-1530, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/jmri.24111. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library