Journal article

Simultaneous Quantitative MRI Mapping of T-1, T-2* and Magnetic Susceptibility with Multi-Echo MP2RAGE

The knowledge of relaxation times is essential for understanding the biophysical mechanisms underlying contrast in magnetic resonance imaging. Quantitative experiments, while offering major advantages in terms of reproducibility, may benefit from simultaneous acquisitions. In this work, we demonstrate the possibility of simultaneously recording relaxation-time and susceptibility maps with a prototype Multi-Echo (ME) Magnetization-Prepared 2 RApid Gradient Echoes (MP2RAGE) sequence. T-1 maps can be obtained using the MP2RAGE sequence, which is relatively insensitive to inhomogeneities of the radio-frequency transmit field, B-1(+). As an extension, multiple gradient echoes can be acquired in each of the MP2RAGE readout blocks, which permits the calculation of T-2(*) and susceptibility maps. We used computer simulations to explore the effects of the parameters on the precision and accuracy of the mapping. In vivo parameter maps up to 0.6 mm nominal resolution were acquired at 7 T in 19 healthy volunteers. Voxel-by-voxel correlations and the test-retest reproducibility were used to assess the reliability of the results. When using optimized paramenters, T-1 maps obtained with ME-MP2RAGE and standard MP2RAGE showed excellent agreement for the whole range of values found in brain tissues. Simultaneously obtained T-2(*) and susceptibility maps were of comparable quality as Fast Low-Angle SHot (FLASH) results. The acquisition times were more favorable for the ME-MP2RAGE (approximate to 19 min) sequence as opposed to the sum of MP2RAGE (approximate to 12 min) and FLASH (approximate to 10 min) acquisitions. Without relevant sacrifice in accuracy, precision or flexibility, the multi-echo version may yield advantages in terms of reduced acquisition time and intrinsic co-registration, provided that an appropriate optimization of the acquisition parameters is performed.


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