Skip to main content
Log in

Semi-automated methodology for determination of contrast agent relaxivity using MRI

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Research on Biomedical Engineering Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Knowledge of the longitudinal and transverse relaxivities (r1 and r2) of a contrast agent (CA) is essential for its magnetic characterization. These parameters can be measured using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) clinical scanners with the advantage of characterizing the CA under the same experimental conditions where it will be employed. Nevertheless, when using MRI, there are several limitations to consider, and we provide ways to compensate for them to obtain accurate results.

Materials and Methods

We present a fast and robust methodology to determine the relaxivity of CA solutions using a 3 T MRI clinical scanner with a single-channel transmit-receive birdcage coil. We performed relaxivity measurements on a phantom consisting of five samples of copper sulfate at different concentrations.


We optimized image acquisition for total scan time using three different pulse sequences. Post-processing steps following image acquisition were implemented in a semiautomatic MATLAB toolbox. Relaxation times were estimated using the three-parameter model with the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm. Statistical comparisons demonstrate good reproducibility and robustness in the relaxivity estimation by each method.


This paper presented a methodology and a systematic discussion of experimental factors associated with relaxivity determination.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Barbará Morales E, Sánchez-Bao R, González Dalmau E. Comparación de algoritmos de segmentación de ruido aplicados a imágenes de resonancia Magnética. Ing Electrónica, Automática y Comunicaciones. 2012;33(3):8–18–18.

  • Brown RW, Cheng YC, Haacke EM, Thompson MR, Venkatesan R. Magnetic resonance imaging: physical principles and sequence design. John Wiley & Sons; 2014.

  • Chen A, et al. The effect of metal ions on endogenous melanin nanoparticles used as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Biomater Sci. 2020;8(1):379–90.

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Cunningham CH, Pauly JM, Nayak KS. Saturated double-angle method for rapid B1+ mapping. Magn Reson Med. 2006;55(6):1326–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Haën C, Cabrini M, Akhnana L, Ratti D, Calabi L, Gozinni L. Gadobenate dimeglumine 0.5 M solution for injection (MultiHance®): Pharmaceutical formulation and psysicochemical properties of a new magnetic resonance imaging contrast medium. Appl Radiol. 2003;32(4 SUPPL.):12–20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gavin HP. The Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm for nonlinear least squares curve-fitting problems. Duke Univ. 2019;1–19.

  • González E. Descriptores cuantitativos de calidad para Tomógrafos por Resonancia Magnética. Dissertation. Universidad de Oriente, Cuba. 2006.

  • Gudbjartsson H, Patz S. The Rician distribution of noisy MRI data. Magn Reson Med. 1995;34(6):910–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Henoumont C, Laurent S, Vander Elst L. How to perform accurate and reliable measurements of longitudinal and transverse relaxation times of MRI contrast media in aqueous solutions. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2009;4(6):312–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jacques V, Dumas S, Sun W-C, Troughton JS, Greenfield MT, Caravan P. High-relaxivity magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents part 2. Invest Radiol. 2010;45(10):613–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knobloch G, et al. Relaxivity of Ferumoxytol at 1.5 T and 3.0 T. Invest Radiol. 2018;53(5):257–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kraft KA, Fatouros PP, Clarke GD, Kishore PRS. An MRI phantom material for quantitative relaxometry. Magn Reson Med. 1987;5(6):555–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McDonald RJ, et al. Gadolinium deposition in human brain tissues after contrast-enhanced MR imaging in adult patients without intracranial abnormalities. Radiology. 2017;285(2):546–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McDonald RJ, et al. Intracranial gadolinium deposition after contrast-enhanced MR imaging. Radiology. 2015;275(3):772–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Modo MM, Bulte JW. Molecular and cellular MR imaging. CRC Press; 2007.

  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association. NEMA Standards Publication MS 1-2008 (R2014, R2020). Determination Of Signal-To-Noise Ratio (SNR) In Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance Imaging. VA: NEMA; 2021.

  • Rohrer M, Bauer H, Mintorovitch J, Requardt M, Weinmann HJ. Comparison of magnetic properties of MRI contrast media solutions at different magnetic field strengths. Invest Radiol. 2005;40(11):715–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Szomolanyi P, et al. Comparison of the relaxivities of macrocyclic gadolinium-based contrast agents in human plasma at 1.5, 3, and 7 T, and blood at 3 T. Invest Radiol. 2019;54(9):559–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thangavel K, Saritaş EÜ. Aqueous paramagnetic solutions for MRI phantoms at 3 T: A detailed study on relaxivities. Turkish J Electr Eng Comput Sci. 2017;25(3):2108–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White GW, Gibby WA, Tweedle MF. Comparison of Gd(DTPA-BMA) (Omniscan) versus Gd(HP-DO3A) (ProHance) relative to gadolinium retention in human bone tissue by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. Invest Radiol. 2006;41(3):272–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank the Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment of the Republic of Cuba for the Financial Fund for Science and Innovation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Evelio R. Gonzalez Dalmau.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reyes Molina, I., Hernandez Rodriguez, A.J., Cabal Mirabal, C.A. et al. Semi-automated methodology for determination of contrast agent relaxivity using MRI. Res. Biomed. Eng. 39, 843–851 (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: