Magnetic resonance imaging has shown promise for evaluating tissue oxygenation. In this study differences in the tissue longitudinal relaxation rate (R(1)) and effective transverse relaxation rate (R(*)(2)), induced by inhalation of pure oxygen and carbogen, were evaluated in 10 healthy subjects. Significant reductions in R(1) were demonstrated following both oxygen and carbogen inhalation in the spleen (both P < 0.001), liver (P = 0.002 air vs. oxygen; P = 0.001 air vs. carbogen), skeletal muscle (both P < 0.001), and renal cortex (P = 0.005 air vs. oxygen; P = 0.008 air vs. carbogen). No significant change in R(*)(2) occurred following pure oxygen in any organ. However, a significant increase in R(*)(2) was observed in the spleen (P < 0.001), liver (P = 0.001), skeletal muscle (P = 0.026), and renal cortex (P = 0.001) following carbogen inhalation, an opposite effect to that observed in many studies of tumor pathophysiology. Changes in R(1) and R(*)(2) were independent of the gas administration order in the spleen and skeletal muscle. These findings suggest that the R(1) and R(*)(2) responses to hyperoxic gases are independent biomarkers of oxygen physiology.


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