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Many applications of MRI are limited by an inherently low sensitivity. Previous attempts to overcome this insensitivity have focused on the use of MRI systems with stronger magnetic fields. However, the gains that can be achieved in this way are relatively small and increasing the magnetic field invariably leads to greater technical challenges. More recently, the development of a range of techniques, which can be gathered under the umbrella term of "hyperpolarization," has offered potential solutions to the low sensitivity. Hyperpolarization techniques have been demonstrated to temporarily increase the signal available in an MRI experiment by as much as 100,000-fold. This article outlines the main hyperpolarization techniques that have been proposed and explains how they can increase MRI signals. With particular emphasis on the emerging technique of dynamic nuclear polarization, the existing preclinical cardiovascular applications are reviewed and the potential for clinical translation is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Cardiovasc Imaging Rep

Publication Date





108 - 115