Direct saturation MRI: theory and application to imaging brain iron.

TitleDirect saturation MRI: theory and application to imaging brain iron.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSmith SA, Bulte JWM, van Zijl PCM
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Date Published2009 Aug

When applying RF saturation to tissue, MRI signal reductions occur due to magnetization transfer (MT) and direct saturation (DS) effects on water protons. It is shown that the direct effects, often considered a nuisance, can be used to distinguish gray matter (GM) regions with different iron content. DS effects were selected by reducing the magnitude and duration of RF irradiation to minimize confounding MT effects. Contrary to MT saturation spectra, direct water saturation spectra are characterized by a symmetric Lorentzian-shaped frequency dependence that can be described by an exact analytical solution of the Bloch equations. The effect of increased transverse relaxation, e.g., due to the presence of iron, will broaden this saturation spectrum. As a first application, DS ratio (DSR) images were acquired to visualize GM structures in the human brain. Similar to T(2)*-weighted images, the quality of DSR images was affected by local field inhomogeneity, but this could be easily corrected for by centering the saturation spectrum on a voxel-by-voxel basis. The results show that, contrary to commonly used T(2)*-weighted and absolute R(2) images, the DSR images visualize all GM structures, including cortex. A direct correlation between DSR and iron content was confirmed for these structures.

Alternate JournalMagn Reson Med