Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

First Advisor

Ravinder Reddy


Increasing the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) generates MR contrast by two distinct mechanisms: increased T2 from deoxyhemoglobin dilution in venous compartments (blood oxygenation level-dependent effect or BOLD) and reduced T­1 from paramagnetic molecular oxygen dissolved in blood plasma and tissues. Many research and clinical applications using hyperoxic contrast have recently emerged, including delineating ischemic stroke penumbra, oxygen delivery to tumors, and functional MRI data calibration. However, quantitative measurements using this contrast agent depend on the precise knowledge of its effects on the MR signal – of which there remain many crucial missing pieces.

This thesis aims to obtain a more quantitative understanding of intravascular hyperoxic contrast in vivo, with the hope of increasing its precision and utility. Specifically, our work focuses on the following areas: (1) paramagnetic effects of molecular oxygen BOLD and arterial spin labeling (ASL) data, (2) degree and temporal characteristics of hyperoxia-induced reductions in cerebral blood flow (CBF), (3) use of oxygen in quantitative measurements of metabolism, and (4) biophysical mechanisms of hyperoxic T1 contrast.

In Chapter 2, the artifactual influence of paramagnetic molecular oxygen on BOLD-modulated hyperoxic gas studies is characterized as a function of static field strength, and we show that optimum reduction in FiO2 mitigates this effect while maintaining BOLD contrast. Since ASL measurements are highly sensitive to arterial blood T­1 (T1a), the value of T1a in vivo is determined as a function of arterial oxygen partial pressure in Chapter 3. The effect of both the degree and duration of hyperoxic exposure on absolute CBF are quantified using simultaneous ASL and in vivo T1a measurements, as described in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, hyperoxic gas calibration of BOLD/ASL data is used to measure cerebral oxygen metabolism in a hypermetabolic swine model, with our results comparing favorably to 17O2 measurements of absolute metabolism. In Chapter 6, a model to describe the relationship between CBF, oxygen consumption, and hyperoxic T1 reduction is developed, which allows for a more rigorous physiological interpretation of these data. Taken together, this work represents several important steps towards making hyperoxia a more quantitative MRI contrast agent for research and clinical applications.

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