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Magn Reson Med. 2009 Apr;61(4):761-6. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21923.

Ultrashort T2* relaxometry for quantitation of highly concentrated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticle labeled cells.

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Philips Research, North America, Briarcliff Manor, New York 10510, USA.


A new method was developed to measure ultrashort T(2)* relaxation in tissues containing a focal area of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticle-labeled cells in which the T(2)* decay is too short to be accurately measured using regular gradient echo T(2)* mapping. The proposed method utilizes the relatively long T(2) relaxation of SPIO-labeled cells and acquires a series of spin echo images with the readout echo shifted to sample the T(2)* decay curve. MRI experiments in phantoms and rats with SPIO-labeled tumors demonstrated that it can detect ultrashort T(2)* down to 1 ms or less. The measured T(2)* values were about 10% higher than those from the ultrashort TE (UTE) technique. The shorter the TE, the less the measurements deviated from the UTE T(2)* mapping. Combined with the regular T(2)* mapping, this technique is expected to provide quantitation of highly concentrated iron-labeled cells from direct cell transplantation.

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