Imaging Extracellular Lactate In Vitro and In Vivo Using CEST MRI and a Paramagnetic Shift Reagent

Lei Zhang, André F. Martins, Yuyan Mai, Piyu Zhao, Alexander M. Funk, M. Veronica Clavijo Jordan, Shanrong Zhang, Wei Chen, Yunkou Wu, A. Dean Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Overproduction of lactate is a hallmark of cancer, yet a method to quantitatively measure lactate production by cancer cells is not straight-forward. Chemical exchange saturation transfer magnetic resonance imaging (CEST MRI) can potentially be used to image lactate but the small difference in chemical shift of the lactate −OH proton and water proton resonances make it challenging. Like other spectroscopic methods, CEST MRI cannot discriminate intracellular lactate from extracellular lactate. Herein, we demonstrate a relatively simple way to shift the lactate −OH proton resonance far away from water by addition of the paramagnetic shift reagent, EuDO3A, while retaining the CEST properties of lactate itself. The potential of the method was demonstrated by imaging extracellular lactate excreted from lung cancer cells in tissue culture without interference from other components in the culture media and by imaging excess lactate excreted into the bladder of a mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1752-1756
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • europium
  • lactate
  • shift reagent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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