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

Abstract

Objectives

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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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Abbreviations

CA:

Contrast agent

FA:

Flip angle

HMSS:

Hollow mesoporous silica sphere

HMSS-PFCE:

HMSS nanoparticles loaded with PFCE

MSE:

Multiple spin echo

MSN:

Mesoporous amorphous silica nanoparticle

PFC:

Perfluorocarbon

PFCE:

Perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether

RR-VFA:

Reference region variable flip angle

SE-IR:

Spin echo inversion-recovery

SPGR:

Spoiled gradient echo

RES:

Reticuloendothelial system

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Acknowledgements

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

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Contributions

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.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ina Vernikouskaya.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no relationships that could be construed as a conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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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Keywords

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