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J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1992 Jan-Feb;16(1):7-18.

Design and implementation of magnetization transfer pulse sequences for clinical use.

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  • 1Picker International, Wembley, Middlesex, England.


The transfer of magnetization between a free and a bound pool of spins is described in terms of the respective longitudinal relaxation times and the life times of spins in each pool. The effect of an off resonance radiofrequency (RF) pulse in producing saturation in the bound pool and a consequent decrease in both the available longitudinal magnetization and the T1 of spins in the free pool is described. The effects of increasing duration of the saturating RF pulse on image pixel signal intensity were used to determine values for the decrease in both T1 and the available magnetization in gray and white matter of the brain as well as in muscle, fat, and CSF. At 0.15 T the available magnetization of muscle was reduced by approximately 60% and its T1 was decreased from 350 to 150 ms. The available magnetization of white and gray matter was reduced by 40% and their values of T1 were reduced by 80-110 ms. The reduction in available magnetization was used to increase contrast on proton density weighted or T2-weighted SE pulse sequences. These changes were also used to design inversion recovery (IR) pulse sequences with particular contrast properties. A short inversion time (TI) magnetization transfer (MT) IR (MT-STIR) pulse sequence was used to reduce the signal from normal muscle to zero to produce an angiographic effect in the leg. Increased tissue contrast was observed with a T2-weighted (MT-SE) sequence in a patient with bilateral cerebral infarction and with an MT-IR pulse sequence in a patient who had an intracranial hematoma. Three patients with cerebral tumors showed high lesion contrast with MT-STIR sequences. Components within two tumors were changed to different degrees by MT and in one case change in the brain attributable to recent radiotherapy treatment was only identified with an MT-STIR sequence. Magnetization transfer can be used to manipulate both the available longitudinal magnetization and the T1 of normal and abnormal tissues. The changes in tissue contrast produced by this can be very substantial and are likely to be of importance in clinical imaging.

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