Sheffield Hyperpolarised Imaging of Metabolism and MR Engineering Research


9.4T Spectroscopy

MR spectroscopy provides a unique fingerprint of the molecules present within a sample. We have conducted a number of studies of distinct bio-fluids and material to identify changes in endogenous metabolites. In one example, in collaboration with Professor Allan Pacey of Human Reproduction and Development, spectroscopy has been used to study the metabolic profile of both human and boar sperm. Distinct metabolites have been identified in both the 1H, figure 1, and 13C, figure 2, spectra. Our aim is to correlate these changes with sperm motility as a biomarker of male infertility. In another application biopsy tissue sampled were scanned from pre and post menopausal women using 1H MAS-NMR to provide a metabolite profile, see figure 3. This study in collaboration with Professor Dilly Anumba in Human Reproduction and Development showed that there was a trend for metabolite values in cervical tissue to differ between pre and post menopausal women but further research is required to confirm this finding.

Figure 1

Figure 1: 1H spectra of Human (Red) and Boar (Blue). Spectra contain similar metabolites however, a lack of fructose peaks are visible in the human spermatozoa.

Figure 2

Figure 2: 13C1 spectra of Human (Red) and Boar (Blue) spermatozoa after addition of 100μl of 100mM pyruvate showing that the sperm can metabolise pyruvate.

1H spectrum from Human cervical biopsy tissue

Figure 3: 1H spectrum from Human cervical biopsy tissue from a pre-menopausal woman acquired using Magic Angle Spinning. Normally tissue samples produce broad linewidth spectra but magic angle spinning improves linewidth dramatically.