Quantitative 19F MRI of perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether using uniformity correction of the spin excitation and signal reception



A common limitation of all 1H contrast agents is that they only allow indirect visualization through modification of the intrinsic properties of the tissue, making quantification of this effect challenging. 19F compounds, on the contrary, are measured directly, without any background signal. There is a linear relationship between the amount of 19F spins and the intensity of the signal. However, non-uniformity of the radiofrequency field may lead to errors in the quantified 19F signal and should be carefully addressed for any quantitative imaging.

Materials and methods

Adaptation of the previously introduced \(B_{1}^{ + }\) mapping technique to the problem of quantifying the 19F signal from perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether (PFCE) is proposed in this work. Initial evaluation of the proposed technique simultaneously accounting for transmit \(B_{1}^{ + }\) and receive \(B_{1}^{ - }\) field inhomogeneities is performed in a PFCE phantom. As a proof of concept, in vivo quantification of the 19F signal is performed in a murine model after application of custom-designed hollow mesoporous silica spheres (HMSS) loaded with PFCE.


A phantom experiment clearly shows that only compensation for both transmit and receive characteristics outperforms inaccurate quantification based on the non- or partly-corrected signal intensities. Furthermore, an optimized protocol is proposed for in vivo application.


The proposed \(B_{1}^{ + }\)/\(B_{1}^{ - }\) mapping technique represents a simple to implement and easy-to-use solution for quantification of the 19F signal from PFCE in the presence of B1-field inhomogeneities.

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Fig. 1
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Contrast agent


Flip angle


Hollow mesoporous silica sphere


HMSS nanoparticles loaded with PFCE


Multiple spin echo


Mesoporous amorphous silica nanoparticle






Reference region variable flip angle


Spin echo inversion-recovery


Spoiled gradient echo


Reticuloendothelial system


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The authors would like to thank the Ulm University Center for Translational Imaging MoMAN for its support.

Author information




All authors were involved in the conception and design of the study and contributed to the interpretation of the data. IV performed optimization of the MR imaging protocols, acquisition of the data, and data processing. AP performed preparation of the PFCE phantom and the synthesis and characterization of the nanoparticles. IV and AP drafted the manuscript; ML and VR revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ina Vernikouskaya.

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All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in study involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution at which the study was conducted.

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Vernikouskaya, I., Pochert, A., Lindén, M. et al. Quantitative 19F MRI of perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether using uniformity correction of the spin excitation and signal reception. Magn Reson Mater Phy 32, 25–36 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10334-018-0696-6

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  • 19F MRI
  • Quantification
  • B 1 inhomogeneity
  • Perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether
  • Hollow mesoporous silica spheres