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Design and testing of microbubble‐based MRI contrast agents for gastric pressure measurement

Abdurakman, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-7043-052X, Bencsik, M., Cave, G. W. V., Hoad, C. L., McGowan, S., Fairhurst, D. J., Major, G., Gowland, P. A. and Bowtell, R. (2019). Design and testing of microbubble‐based MRI contrast agents for gastric pressure measurement. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, doi: 10.1002/mrm.27992

Abstract

Purpose
This work demonstrates specifically tailored microbubble‐based preparations and their suitability as MRI contrast agents for ingestion and measuring temporal and spatial pressure variation in the human stomach.

Methods
Enhanced alginate spheres were prepared by incorporating gas‐filled microbubbles into sodium alginate solution followed by the polymerization of the mixture in an aqueous calcium lactate solution. The microbubbles were prepared with a phospholipid shell and perfluorocarbon gas filling, using a mechanical cavitational agitation regime. The NMR signal changes to externally applied pressure and coming from the enhanced alginate spheres were acquired and compared with that of alginate spheres without microbubbles. In vivo investigations were also carried out on healthy volunteers to measure the pressure variation in the stomach.

Results
The MR signal changes in the contrast agent exhibits a linear sensitivity of approximately 40% per bar, as opposed to no measurable signal change seen in the control gas‐free spheres. This novel contrast agent also demonstrates an excellent stability in simulated gastric conditions, including at body temperature. In vivo studies showed that the signal change exhibited in the meal within the antrum region is between 5% and 10%, but appears to come from both pressure changes and partial volume artifacts.

Conclusion
This study demonstrates that alginate spheres with microbubbles can be used as an MRI contrast agent to measure pressure changes. The peristaltic movement within the stomach is seen to substantially alter the overall signal intensity of the contrast agent meal. Future work must focus on improving the contrast agent's sensitivity to pressure changes.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: alginate, functional dyspepsia, microbubbles, MRI contrast agents, stomach pressure
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22859
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