Dynamic phosphorus MR spectroscopic imaging (31P‐MRSI) experiments require temporal resolution on the order of seconds to concurrently assess different muscle groups. A highly accelerated pulse sequence combining flyback echo‐planar spectroscopic imaging (EPSI) and compressed sensing was developed and tested in a phantom and healthy humans during an exercise‐recovery challenge of the lower leg muscles, using a clinical 3T MRI.
A flyback EPSI readout designed to achieve 2.25 × 2.25 cm2 resolution over a 18 × 18 cm2 field of view (i.e., 8 × 8 matrix) was combined with compressed sensing through the inclusion of pseudorandom gradient blips to sub‐sample the ky‐kt dimensions by a factor of 2.7×, achieving a temporal resolution of 9 s. The sequence was first tested in a phantom to assess performance compared to fully sampled EPSI (fidEPSI) and phase encoded chemical shift imaging (fidCSI). Then, tests were performed in 11 healthy volunteers during an exercise‐recovery challenge of the lower leg muscles. Voxels containing tissue from different muscle groups were evaluated measuring percentage phosphocreatine (%PCr) depletion, time constant of PCr recovery (τPCr) and intracellular pH at rest and following exercise.
The sequence was capable to track the dynamic PCr response of multiple muscles simultaneously. No statistical differences were found in the metabolite ratio, pH or linewidth when compared with fidEPSI and fidCSI in the phantom study. Dynamic experiments showed differences in PCr depletion when comparing soleus with gastrocnemius muscles. Intracellular pH, τPCr and %PCr decrease were consistent with reported values.
Highly accelerated 31P‐MRSI combining flyback EPSI and compressed sensing is capable of assessing concurrent energy metabolism in multiple muscle groups using a clinical 3T MR system.