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Magn Reson Med. 2006 Oct;56(4):866-75.

Pulsed magnetization transfer imaging with body coil transmission at 3 Tesla: feasibility and application.

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  • 1F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Pulsed magnetization transfer (MT) imaging has been applied to quantitatively assess brain pathology in several diseases, especially multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, however, because of the high power deposition associated with the use of short, rapidly repeating MT prepulses, clinical application has been limited to lower field strengths. The contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of MT is limited, and this method would greatly benefit from the use of higher magnetic fields and phased-array coil reception. However, power deposition is proportional to the square of the magnetic field and scales with coil size, and MT experiments are already close to the SAR limit at 1.5T even when smaller transmit coils are used instead of the body coil. Here we show that these seemingly great obstacles can be ameliorated by the increased T(1) of tissue water at higher field, which allows for longer maintenance of sufficiently high saturation levels while using a reduced duty cycle. This enables a fast (5-6 min) high-resolution (1.5 mm isotropic) whole-brain MT acquisition with excellent anatomical visualization of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) structures, and even substructures. The method is demonstrated in nine normal volunteers and five patients with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), and the results show a clear delineation of heterogeneous lesions.

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