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

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Mirkes,  C
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Scheffler,  K
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Heule, R., Bär, P., Mirkes, C., Scheffler, K., Trattnig, S., & Bieri, O. (2014). Triple-echo steady-state T2 relaxometry of the human brain at high to ultra-high fields. NMR in Biomedicine, 27(9), 1037-1045. doi:10.1002/nbm.3152.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-7FE1-A
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 3thinsp;T, T2 maps of the human brain were obtained at 7 and 9.4thinsp;T. Excellent agreement between TESS-based T2 measurements and reference single-echo spin-echo data was found in vitro and in vivo at 3thinsp;T, and T2 relaxometry based on TESS imaging was proven to be feasible and reliable in the human brain at 7 and 9.4thinsp;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.