Motion-Correction Enabled Ultra-High Resolution In-Vivo 7T-MRI of the Brain
OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate the image quality that can be obtained for multiple contrasts using ultra-high resolution MRI (highest nominal resolution: 350 mum isotropic) at 7T using appropriate motion-correction. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An MRI-based fat-excitation motion navigator (which requires no additional hardware) was incorporated into T1-weighted (MP2RAGE, 350 mum nominal isotropic resolution, total scan time 124 mins over 2 sessions. The MP2RAGE also provides quantitative T1-maps), 3D-TSE (380 mum nominal isotropic resolution, total scan time 58 mins) and T2*-weighted protocols (3D-GRE, 380 mum nominal isotropic resolution, total scan time 42 mins) on a 7T MR system. Images from each contrast are presented from a single healthy adult male volunteer (34 years) for direct comparison. The subject provided written consent in accordance with the local review board. RESULTS: Images of various brain structures are revealed at unprecedented quality for in-vivo MRI. The presented images permit, for example, to delimit the internal structure of the basal ganglia and thalamus. The single digitationes of the hippocampus are visible, and the gyrus dentatus can be visualized. Intracortical contrast was also observed in the neocortex, including the stria of Gennari of the primary visual cortex. CONCLUSIONS: Appropriate motion-correction allows MRI scans to be performed with extended scan times enabling exceptionally high resolution scans with high image quality, with the use of a 7T scanner allowing large brain coverage for 350-380 mum isotropic voxels with total scan times for each contrast ranging from 42 to 124 minutes.