ATP derived from the conversion of phosphocreatine to creatine by creatine kinase provides an essential chemical energy source that governs myocardial contraction. Here, we demonstrate that the exchange of amine protons from creatine with protons in bulk water can be exploited to image creatine through chemical exchange saturation transfer (CrEST) in myocardial tissue. We show that CrEST provides about two orders of magnitude higher sensitivity compared to 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Results of CrEST studies from ex vivo myocardial tissue strongly correlate with results from 1H and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy and biochemical analysis. We demonstrate the feasibility of CrEST measurement in healthy and infarcted myocardium in animal models in vivo on a 3-T clinical scanner. As proof of principle, we show the conversion of phosphocreatine to creatine by spatiotemporal mapping of creatine changes in the exercised human calf muscle. We also discuss the potential utility of CrEST in studying myocardial disorders.
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Supplementary Discussion and Supplementary Methods