CORE SERVICES

Pennington Biomedical provides its researchers with state-of-the-art core services designed to improve efficiency, timeliness and precision of vital technical procedures needed across research boundaries. Core services are divided into three areas: clinical, basic, and population science.

Imaging/MRS Core

MISSION

The core provides state-of-the art imaging instrumentation which allows turnkey solutions for clinical investigators who need high-quality measures of body composition and function.

This core places in the hands of researchers a variety of instrumentation and technical services including the following:

Hologic® Discovery and GE iDXA dual energy X-ray absorptiometers (DXA) for the measurement of whole-body composition and site-specific bone mineral density 

  • OasisTM-based coordination of multicenter DXA studies 
  • An EchoMRI™ for whole-body nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) body composition 
  • A Toshiba Aplio SSA-280 ultrasound/Doppler for cardiac and general purpose imaging, transcranial Doppler, carotid ultrasonography, and studies of post-ischemic reactive hyperemia (brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation) 
  • An EndoPAT2000 for measurement of peripheral arterial tone
  • BodPod and PeaPod systems for body composition measurements
  • Access to a 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center Bluebonnet campus 
  • Assistance with special projects requiring image analysis of CT, magnetic resonance imaging, or ultrasound images, including multicenter clinical trials 

The core also includes a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) and functional MRI (fMRI) lab. The lab consists of a GE 3.0T Signa® EXCITE MR scanner, a series of specialized coils and instrumentation for MRS and fMRI, and clinical facilities oriented toward patient comfort and convenience. In addition to a variety of body image scans, this instrument allows researchers to noninvasively make the following measures of biochemistry in situ without biopsies: 

  • Proton spectroscopy for the measurement of intrahepatic and intramyocellular lipids 
  • Phosphorus spectroscopy to measure post-ischemic and exercise phosphocreatine recovery rates (resting and maximal ATP synthesis) 
  • fMRI with appropriate visual stimulation paradigms 

The measurement of resting ATP turnover rates is complemented by optical spectroscopy. This technique allows researchers to directly measure oxygen consumption in skeletal muscle. When combined with resting ATP turnover rates, the mitochondrial coupling ratio or P/O can be directly measured for the first time in intact muscle. 

FACULTY

Steven Heymsfield, M.D.