Brain metabolism

Hyperpolarized metabolic brain imaging

Our group work to advance non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging tools for studying metabolic changes in the brain. Our aim is to make available research tools for evaluation of the efficacy of novel therapies targeting declining neurological health in the human brain.

Longer life expectancy has resulted in an increase in dementia diseases including the most common, Alzheimer's disease. Changes in brain cell metabolism, e.g. the consumption and conversion of glucose is an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease, but animal models for clinical translational research and non-invasive medical technology are lacking for studying these metabolic changes. A major focus for our group is thus to develop hyperpolarized magnetic resonance and metabolic markers for magnetic resonance sensitive enough to assess metabolic changes in sick versus healthy brain.

 

We work from the general hypothesis that there may be causal links between what is called systemic inflammation, initiated by disturbances in the body's normal metabolism of nutrients, and changes in the brain's energy metabolism and degeneration of brain cells. Here, we are convinced that hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging can help identify such relations and thereby lead to the discovery of early metabolic biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease.

 

One project line concerns the study of links between lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. We are in these activities investigating relationships between immune-, metabolic and neurological changes brought about by obesity.

 

Another project line is focused on establishing a platform technology for hyperpolarized 13C-magnetic resonance as a metabolic imaging tool in an ex vivo pig brain model. The technological solution aims to overcome inadequacy of existing models like too simple in vitro cellular models and the often-misinterpreted results when anesthetized animal models are used. The platform technology will allow measurement of time resolved, localised, specific cellular function, non-invasively, in a set-up which can be combined with established metabolic imaging methods.

 

Our research is carried out in collaboration with the Neurometabolism group at KU led by assistant professor Blanca Aldana and research groups connected to the Ossabaw facilities at DTU Health Technology led by professor Peter Heegaard and professor Tim K. Jensen.

Contact

Mathilde Hauge Lerche
Senior Researcher
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 36 76

Contact

Magnus Karlsson
Senior Researcher
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 36 77