Into the chemistry of the heart.In the last few years, advances in nuclear magnetic resonance nuclear magnetic resonance: see magnetic resonance.
nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
Selective absorption of very high-frequency radio waves by certain atomic nuclei subjected to a strong stationary magnetic field. spectroscopy have allowed medical researchers to gather much information about the molecular chemistry that takes place inside living cells (SN: 10/15/83, p. 250). recently, attention has focused on the isotope phosphorus-31, which occurs naturally in the human body and has a permanent magnetic moment that interacts with an external magnetic field. By detecting the faint signals from these nuclei, researchers can track high-energy phosphate metabolism. These measurements provide valuable diagnostic information about various human muscular and brain disorders without the use of ionizing radiation like X-rays and without cutting open a body or inserting probes. Now, similar measurements have been recorded for a living human heart.
Using a new technique called depth-resolved surface coil spectroscopy, Paul A. Bottomley of the General Electric Research and Development Center in Schenectady, N.Y., obtained phosphorus spectra from the heart of a volunteer. These spectra showed the relative amounts of inorganic phosphorus and the metabolites Metabolites
Substances produced by metabolism or by a metabolic process.
Mentioned in: Interactions phosphocreatine phosphocreatine /phos·pho·cre·a·tine/ (PC) (fos?fo-kre´ah-tin) the phosphagen of vertebrates, a creatine–phosphoric acid compound occurring in muscle, being an important storage form of high-energy phosphate, the energy source in muscle and adenosine adenosine /aden·o·sine/ (ah-den´o-sen) a purine nucleoside consisting of adenine and ribose; a component of RNA. It is also a cardiac depressant and vasodilator used as an antiarrhythmic and as an adjunct in myocardial perfusion imaging triphosphate triphosphate /tri·phos·phate/ (tri-fos´fat) a salt containing three phosphate radicals.
A salt or ester containing three phosphate groups. -- normally present in minute quantities and very difficult to detect. Changes in the ratios of these substances, which are involved in the transfer of energy in licing cells, often mirror the effects of heart disease. Bottomley's report appears in the Aug. 23 SCIENCE.