APT-weighted MRI: Techniques, current neuro applications, and challenging issues

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63 Scopus citations


Amide proton transfer-weighted (APTw) imaging is a molecular MRI technique that generates image contrast based predominantly on the amide protons in mobile cellular proteins and peptides that are endogenous in tissue. This technique, the most studied type of chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging, has been used successfully for imaging of protein content and pH, the latter being possible due to the strong dependence of the amide proton exchange rate on pH. In this article we briefly review the basic principles and recent technical advances of APTw imaging, which is showing promise clinically, especially for characterizing brain tumors and distinguishing recurrent tumor from treatment effects. Early applications of this approach to stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury are also illustrated. Finally, we outline the technical challenges for clinical APT-based imaging and discuss several controversies regarding the origin of APTw imaging signals in vivo. Level of Evidence: 3. Technical Efficacy Stage: 3. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019;50:347–364.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-364
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • APT-weighted imaging
  • CEST imaging
  • brain tumor
  • molecular imaging
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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