Investigation of field and diffusion time dependence of the diffusion-weighted signal at ultrahigh magnetic fields
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of high-magnetic-field MRI magnets. However, the exact effect of a high magnetic field strength (B0 ) on diffusion-weighted MR signals is not yet fully understood. The goal of this study was to investigate the influence of different high magnetic field strengths (9.4 T and 14.1 T) and diffusion times (9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 24 ms) on the diffusion-weighted signal in rat brain white matter. At a short diffusion time (9 ms), fractional anisotropy values were found to be lower at 14.1 T than at 9.4 T, but this difference disappeared at longer diffusion times. A simple two-pool model was used to explain these findings. The model describes the white matter as a first hindered compartment (often associated with the extra-axonal space), characterized by a faster orthogonal diffusion and a lower fractional anisotropy, and a second restricted compartment (often associated with the intra-axonal space), characterized by a slower orthogonal diffusion (i.e. orthogonal to the axon direction) and a higher fractional anisotropy. Apparent T2 relaxation time measurements of the hindered and restricted pools were performed. The shortening of the pseudo-T2 value from the restricted compartment with B0 is likely to be more pronounced than the apparent T2 changes in the hindered compartment. This study suggests that the observed differences in diffusion tensor imaging parameters between the two magnetic field strengths at short diffusion time may be related to differences in the apparent T2 values between the pools. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.