Many MRI contrast agents formed with the parahydrogen-induced polarization (PHIP) technique exhibit biocompatible profiles. In the context of respiratory imaging with inhalable molecular contrast agents, the development of nonflammable contrast agents would nonetheless be highly beneficial for the biomedical translation of this sensitive, high-throughput and affordable hyperpolarization technique. To this end, we assess the hydrogenation kinetics, the polarization levels and the lifetimes of PHIP hyperpolarized products (acids, ethers and esters) at various degrees of fluorine substitution. The results highlight important trends as a function of molecular structure that are instrumental for the design of new, safe contrast agents for in vivo imaging applications of the PHIP technique, with an emphasis on the highly volatile group of ethers used as inhalable anesthetics.
- inhalable anesthetics