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Tweaking MRI to track creatine may spot heart problems earlier, Penn Medicine study suggests
Date:1/12/2014

PHILADELPHIA A new MRI method to map creatine at higher resolutions in the heart may help clinicians and scientists find abnormalities and disorders earlier than traditional diagnostic methods, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania suggest in a new study published online today in Nature Medicine. The preclinical findings show an advantage over less sensitive tests and point to a safer and more cost-effective approach than those with radioactive or contrasting agents.

Creatine is a naturally occurring metabolite that helps supply energy to all cells through creatine kinase reaction, including those involved in contraction of the heart. When heart tissue becomes damaged from a loss of blood supply, even in the very early stages, creatine levels drop. Researchers exploited this process in a large animal model with a method known as CEST, or chemical exchange saturation transfer, which measures specific molecules in the body, to track the creatine on a regional basis.

The team, led by Ravinder Reddy, PhD, professor of Radiology and director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance and Optical Imaging at Penn Medicine, found that imaging creatine through CEST MRI provides higher resolution compared to standard magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), a commonly used technique for measuring creatine. However, its poor resolution makes it difficult to determine exactly which areas of the heart have been compromised.

"Measuring creatine with CEST is a promising technique that has the potential to improve clinical decision making while treating patients with heart disorders and even other diseases, as well as spotting problems sooner," said Reddy. "Beyond the sensitivity benefits and its advantage
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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