Imaging of sodium in the brain: a brief review

N. Jon Shah, Wieland A. Worthoff, Karl Josef Langen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Sodium-based MRI plays a vital role in the study of metabolism and can unveil valuable information about emerging and existing pathology - in particular in the human brain. Sodium is the second most abundant MR active nucleus in living tissue and, due to its quadrupolar nature, has magnetic properties not common to conventional proton MRI, which can reveal further insights, such as information on the compartmental distribution of intra- and extracellular sodium. Nevertheless, the use of sodium nuclei for imaging comes at the expense of a lower sensitivity and significantly reduced relaxation times, making in vivo sodium studies feasible only at high magnetic field strength and by the use of dedicated pulse sequences. Hybrid imaging combining sodium MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) simultaneously is a novel and promising approach to access information on dynamic metabolism with much increased, PET-derived specificity. Application of this new methodology is demonstrated herein using examples from tumour imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-174
Number of pages13
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquisition methods
  • Applications
  • Clinical applications
  • MR-PET hybrid imaging
  • Neurological
  • Neuroscience
  • Sodium imaging

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