In vivo chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging of creatine (CrCEST) in skeletal muscle at 3T

Feliks Kogan, Mohammad Haris, Catherine Debrosse, Anup Singh, Ravi P. Nanga, Kejia Cai, Hari Hariharan, Ravinder Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose To characterize the chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST)-based technique to measure free creatine (Cr), a key component of muscle energy metabolism, distribution in skeletal muscle with high spatial resolution before and after exercise at 3T. Materials and Methods CrCEST saturation parameters were empirically optimized for 3T. CEST, T2, magnetization transfer ratio (MTR), and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) acquisitions of the lower leg were performed before and after mild plantar flexion exercise on a 3T whole-body MR scanner on six healthy volunteers. Results The feasibility of imaging Cr changes in skeletal muscle following plantar flexion exercise using CrCEST was demonstrated at 3T. This technique exhibited good spatial resolution and was able to differentiate differences in muscle use among subjects. The CrCEST results were compared with 31P MRS results, showing good agreement in the Cr and PCr recovery kinetics. A relationship of 0.45% CrCESTasym/mM Cr was observed across all subjects. Conclusion It is demonstrated that the CrCEST technique could be applied at 3T to measure dynamic changes in creatine in muscle in vivo. The widespread availability and clinical applicability of 3T scanners has the potential to clinically advance this method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • chemical exchange
  • CrCEST
  • creatine
  • endogenous contrast
  • muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this