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J Magn Reson. 2018 Aug 31;296:60-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2018.08.004. [Epub ahead of print]

Low duty-cycle pulsed irradiation reduces magnetization transfer and increases the inhomogeneous magnetization transfer effect.

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Department of Radiology, Division of MR Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:
Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, CRMBM, Marseille, France.
Department of Radiology, Division of MR Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Intense off-resonant RF irradiation can lead to saturation of the macromolecular pool magnetization and enhance bound pool dipolar order responsible for the inhomogeneous magnetization transfer (ihMT) effect, but the intensity of RF power in human imaging studies is limited by safety constraints on RF heating. High RF intensities can still be achieved if applied in short pulses with low duty-cycle. Here we investigate the benefits of low duty-cycle irradiation for MT and ihMT studies with both theoretical and experimental methods. Solutions for pulsed irradiation of a two-pool model including dipolar order effects were implemented. Experiments were conducted at 3 T in the brain and through the calf of healthy human subjects. 2D echo planar images were acquired following a preparation of RF irradiation with a 2 s train of 5 ms pulses repeated from between 10 to 100 ms for duty-cycles (DCs) of 50% to 5%, and at varying offset frequencies, and time averaged RF powers. MT and ihMT data were measured in regions of interest within gray matter, white matter and muscle, and fit to the model. RF irradiation effects on signal intensity were reduced at 5% relative to 50% DCs. This reduced RF effect was much larger for single than dual frequency irradiation. 5% DC irradiation reduced single and dual frequency MT ratios but increased ihMT ratios up to 3 fold in brain tissues. Muscle ihMT increased by an even larger factor, depending on the frequency and applied power. The model predicted these changes with duty-cycle. The model fit the data well and constrained model parameters. Low duty-cycle pulsed irradiation reduces MT effects and markedly increases dipolar order effects. This approach is an attractive method to enhance ihMT signal-to-noise ratio and demonstrates a measurable ihMT effect in muscle tissue at 3 T under acceptable specific absorption rates. The effects of duty-cycle changes demonstrated in a separate MT/ihMT preparation provide a route for new applications in magnetization-prepared MRI sequences.


Dipolar order; Inhomogeneous magnetization transfer; MT; Muscle; Myelin; Provotorov theory; Quantitative magnetization transfer; Saturation; ihMT


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