Fast T1 and T2 mapping methods: the zoomed U-FLARE sequence compared with EPI and snapshot-FLASH for abdominal imaging at 11.7 Tesla
A newly adapted zoomed ultrafast low-angle RARE (U-FLARE) sequence is described for abdominal imaging applications at 11.7 Tesla and compared with the standard echo-plannar imaging (EPI) and snapshot fast low angle shot (FLASH) methods.
Materials and methods
Ultrafast EPI and snapshot-FLASH protocols were evaluated to determine relaxation times in phantoms and in the mouse kidney in vivo. Owing to their apparent shortcomings, imaging artefacts, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and variability in the determination of relaxation times, these methods are compared with the newly implemented zoomed U-FLARE sequence.
Snapshot-FLASH has a lower SNR when compared with the zoomed U-FLARE sequence and EPI. The variability in the measurement of relaxation times is higher in the Look–Locker sequences than in inversion recovery experiments. Respectively, the average T1 and T2 values at 11.7 Tesla are as follows: kidney cortex, 1810 and 29 ms; kidney medulla, 2100 and 25 ms; subcutaneous tumour, 2365 and 28 ms.
This study demonstrates that the zoomed U-FLARE sequence yields single-shot single-slice images with good anatomical resolution and high SNR at 11.7 Tesla. Thus, it offers a viable alternative to standard protocols for mapping very fast parameters, such as T1 and T2, or dynamic processes in vivo at high field.
KeywordsMagnetic resonance imaging Abdomen Relaxation Mice High-field
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