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Triple-echo steady-state T2 relaxometry of the human brain at high to ultra-high fields.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Heule Rahel, Bär Peter, Mirkes Christian, Scheffler Klaus, Trattnig Siegfried, Bieri Oliver,
Project Development of fast quantitative diffusion and transverse relaxation time magnetic resonance steady state imaging concepts for living tissues
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal NMR in biomedicine
Volume (Issue) 27(9)
Page(s) 1037 - 45
Title of proceedings NMR in biomedicine
DOI 10.1002/nbm.3152

Abstract

Quantitative MRI techniques, such as T2 relaxometry, have demonstrated the potential to detect changes in the tissue microstructure of the human brain with higher specificity to the underlying pathology than in conventional morphological imaging. At high to ultra-high field strengths, quantitative MR-based tissue characterization benefits from the higher signal-to-noise ratio traded for either improved resolution or reduced scan time, but is impaired by severe static (B0 ) and transmit (B1 ) field heterogeneities. The objective of this study was to derive a robust relaxometry technique for fast T2 mapping of the human brain at high to ultra-high fields, which is highly insensitive to B0 and B1 field variations. The proposed method relies on a recently presented three-dimensional (3D) triple-echo steady-state (TESS) imaging approach that has proven to be suitable for fast intrinsically B1 -insensitive T2 relaxometry of rigid targets. In this work, 3D TESS imaging is adapted for rapid high- to ultra-high-field two-dimensional (2D) acquisitions. The achieved short scan times of 2D TESS measurements reduce motion sensitivity and make TESS-based T2 quantification feasible in the brain. After validation in vitro and in vivo at 3 T, T2 maps of the human brain were obtained at 7 and 9.4 T. Excellent agreement between TESS-based T2 measurements and reference single-echo spin-echo data was found in vitro and in vivo at 3 T, and T2 relaxometry based on TESS imaging was proven to be feasible and reliable in the human brain at 7 and 9.4 T. Although prominent B0 and B1 field variations occur at ultra-high fields, the T2 maps obtained show no B0 - or B1 -related degradations. In conclusion, as a result of the observed robustness, TESS T2 may emerge as a valuable measure for the early diagnosis and progression monitoring of brain diseases in high-resolution 2D acquisitions at high to ultra-high fields.
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