Competitive Displacement Restores the Hyperpolarized 15N NMR Signal in Blood Plasma

Eul H. Suh, Zoltan Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hyperpolarized (HP) NMR can improve the sensitivity of conventional NMR experiments by several orders of magnitude, thereby making it feasible to detect the signal of low sensitivity nuclei such as 13C and 15N nuclei in vivo. Hyperpolarized substrates are usually administered by direct injection into the bloodstream, and interaction with serum albumin can cause rapid decay of the hyperpolarized signal due to the shortening of the spin-lattice (T1) relaxation time. Here we report that the 15N T1 of 15N labeled, partially deuterated tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine decreases dramatically upon binding to albumin to such an extent that no HP-15 signal could be detected. We also demonstrate that the signal could be restored using a competitive displacer, iophenoxic acid, which binds stronger to albumin than tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine. The methodology presented here eliminates the undesirable effect of albumin binding and should widen the range of hyperpolarized probes for in vivo studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalACS Physical Chemistry Au
Issue number2
StatePublished - 22 Mar 2023


  • N NMR
  • T relaxation
  • albumin binding
  • competitive displacement
  • dynamic nuclear polarization
  • hyperpolarized NMR


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