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Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2006 May;16(2):259-68, x.

Arterial spin labeling: benefits and pitfalls of high magnetic field.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Imaging, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, 11 Biopolis Way, Singapore 138667.


Arterial spin labeling (ASL) techniques are MR imaging methods designed to measure the endogenous perfusion signal coming from arterial blood by manipulation of its magnetization. These methods are based on the subtraction of two consecutively acquired images: one acquired after preparation of the arterial blood magnetization upstream to the area of interest, and the second without any manipulation of its arterial magnetization. The subtraction of both images provides information on the perfusion of the tissue present in the slice of interest. Because ASL is a very low SNR technique, the shift from 1.5 T to 3.0 T should be regarded as a great way to increase signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Furthermore, the concomitant increase in blood T(1) should improve the SNR of ASL further. Other effects related to poorer magnetic filed homogeneities and reduced T(2) relaxation times, however, will counterbalance both effects partially. In this article, the pros and cons of the use of ASL at high field are summarized, after a brief description of the major techniques used and their theoretical limitations. Finally, a summary of the few existing dedicated ASL perfusion techniques available are presented.

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