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Pipeline I - Non-invasive imaging techniques

Localization of adipose tissue

Adipose tissue is of major interest in fundamental metabolic studies and in the exploration of metabolic disorders. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides several approaches to spatially localize and characterize adipose tissue in-vivo. MRI in conjunction with advanced post-processing methods based on the so called “Dixon approach” is capable of differentiating water-dominant and fat-dominant tissues rendering the quantification of fat tissue. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) enables the spatially localized assessment of metabolites in specific organs of interest.  These quantitative measures provide valuable information on the response to diet challenges, exercise and other metabolic interventions along long-term studies.

Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging in “neuro degenerative disorders / aging”

Distinct tissue specific properties can be characterized by dedicated magnetic resonance imaging experiments. Besides the proton density qualities such as the proton spin-lattice (T1) and the spin-spin (T2) relaxation time are determinable. Aggregation of magnetic compounds for example such as biological iron gives rise to localized magnetic field disturbances. The magnitude of such perturbations is detectable by quantifying the effective transversal relaxation time (T2*) and can be translated into the amount of these magnetic susceptible compounds. These inherent tissue parameters have proven to provide useful diagnostic information and facilitate tissue characterization. Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) provide insight into the kinematics of water protons. The resulting quantitative DWI maps are invaluable serve as a marker of myelin pathology, axonal impairment and brain disorders. These quantitative 3D-volumetric MRI techniques render the study of tissue irregularities at a single observation in time as well as along longitudinal studies like for example in aging research.