ELSC Special seminar - Prof. Itamar Ronen - July 18, at 14:00

July 18, 2018

ELSC cordially invites you to the lecture given by:


Prof. Itamar Ronen 

Leiden University Medical Center


On the topic of:

Diffusion of Intracellular Metabolites: a Compartment Specific Probe for Microstructure and Physiology



The lecture will be held on Wednesday, July 18th, at 14:00

at ELSC: Silberman Bldg., 3rd Wing, 6th Floor

Edmond J. Safra Campus


Light refreshments at 13:45


Intracellular metabolites that give rise to quantifiable MR resonances are excellent structural probes for the intracellular space, and are oftentimes specific, or preferential enough to a certain cell type to provide information that is also cell-type specific. In the brain, N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and glutamate (Glu) are predominantly neuronal/axonal in nature, whereas soluble choline compounds (tCho), myo-inositol (mI) and glutamine (Gln) are predominantly glial. The diffusion properties of these metabolites, examined by diffusion weighted MR spectroscopy (DWS) exclusively reflect properties of the intracellular milieu, thus reflecting properties such as cytosolic viscosity, macromolecular crowding, tortuosity of the intracellular space, the integrity of the cytoskeleton and other intracellular structures, and in some cases – intracellular sub-compartmentation and exchange.

The presentation will introduce some of the methodological concepts of DWS and the particular challenges of acquiring robust DWS for accurate estimation of metabolite diffusion properties. Subsequently, the unique ability of DWS to characterize cell-type specific structural and physiological features will be demonstrated, followed by several applications of DWS to discern cell-type specific intracellular damage in disease). Also discussed is the possibility of combining DTI/DWI and DWS in a combined analysis framework aimed at better characterizing tissue microstructural properties, as well as acquisition strategies aimed at characterizing compartment-specific microscopic anisotropy (µFA) in tissue, while avoiding macroscopic effects. The presentation will conclude with examples of the potential of DWS to monitor and quantify cellular energy metabolism, where enzymatic processes may affect the diffusion properties of metabolites involved in metabolism.