Evaluation of a mobile NMR sensor for determining skin layers and locally estimating the T2eff relaxation time in the lower arm

  • Darius Kornetka
  • Martin Trammer
  • Jochen ZangeEmail author
Research Article



The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) mobile-universal-surface-explorer (MOUSE) was evaluated in a pilot study to determine its ability to detect physiological changes in human skin caused by physical or pharmacological interventions.

Materials and methods

The left lower arm skin thicknesses of ten male subjects were measured five times using a Profile NMR-MOUSE® (1H, 19 MHz) before and after a venous occlusion manoeuvre. In five of the subjects, the T2eff relaxation times were derived from a bi-exponential fitting and were determined in the dermis and subcutis before and after applying a salve containing capsaicin.


The dermis (including the epidermis) showed rather homogeneous signal amplitudes. The subcutis was characterised by higher and more variable amplitudes. The full-skin thickness values were affirmed by ultrasound imaging. The NMR profiles did not show significant skin swelling due to venous occlusion. In the dermis, capsaicin caused significant (p < 0.05) decreases in both components of T 2eff (100 ± 19 ms–19 ± 10 ms; 9.5 ± 0.5 ms–7.2 ± 1.6 ms). In the subcutis, the T 2eff was not affected.


In principle, NMR-MOUSE profiles are capable of detecting skin structure. However, precise measurements are jeopardised by poor reproducibility, long acquisition times, and incompatibility between the geometries of the sensitive area of the instrument and the non-planar structure of the skin. In the dermis, T 2eff contrast could be used to detect the changes in tissue composition caused by inflammatory reactions.


Mobile NMR NMR-MOUSE Fluid volume regulation Skin histology T2 relaxation time 



Nuclear magnetic resonance-mobile universal surface explorer


Transversal spin relaxation time including dephasing effects from magnetic field inhomogeneity and susceptibility effects


Inverse Laplace transformation



We thank Dr. Jörg Mauler from the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, for very fruitful discussions.


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Copyright information

© ESMRMB 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darius Kornetka
    • 1
  • Martin Trammer
    • 1
  • Jochen Zange
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR e.V.)CologneGermany
  2. 2.Medical Faculty of the University of CologneCologneGermany

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