Purpose: In vivo myelin quantification can provide valuable noninvasive information on neuronal maturation and development, as well as insights into neurological disorders. Multiexponential analysis of multiecho T-2 relaxation is a powerful and widely applied method for the quantification of the myelin water fraction (MWF). In recent literature, the MWF is most commonly estimated using a regularized nonnegative least squares algorithm.
Methods: The orthogonal matching pursuit algorithm is proposed as an alternative method for the estimation of the MWF. The orthogonal matching pursuit is a greedy sparse reconstruction algorithm with a low computation complexity. For validation, both methods arc compared to a ground truth using numerical simulations and a phantom model using comparable computation times. The numerical simulations were used to measure the theoretical errors, as well as the effects of varying the SNR, strength of the regularization, and resolution of the basis set. Additionally, a phantom model was used to estimate the performance of the 2 methods while including errors occurring due to the MR measurement. Lastly, 4 healthy subjects were scanned to evaluate the in vivo performance.
Results: The results in simulations and phantoms demonstrate that the MWFs determined with the orthogonal matching pursuit are 1.7 times more accurate as compared to the nonnegative least squares, with a comparable precision. The remaining bias of the MWF is shown to be related to the regularization of the nonnegative least squares algorithm and the Rician noise present in magnitude MR images.
Conclusion: The orthogonal matching pursuit algorithm provides a more accurate alternative for T-2, relaxometry myelin water quantification.