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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Yet more evidence that myelin protons can be directly imaged with UTE sequences on a clinical 3T scanner: Bicomponent T2* analysis of native and deuterated ovine brain specimens.

  • Author(s): Fan, Shu-Juan
  • Ma, Yajun
  • Zhu, Yanchun
  • Searleman, Adam
  • Szeverenyi, Nikolaus M
  • Bydder, Graeme M
  • Du, Jiang
  • et al.

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PURPOSE:UTE sequences with a minimal nominal TE of 8 µs have shown promise for direct imaging of myelin protons (T2 , < 1 ms). However, there is still debate about the efficiency of 2D slice-selective UTE sequences in exciting myelin protons because the half excitation pulses used in these sequences have a relatively long duration (e.g., 0.3-0.6 ms). Here, we compared UTE and inversion-recovery (IR) UTE sequences used with either hard or half excitation pulses (durations 32 µs or 472 µs, respectively) for imaging myelin in native and deuterated ovine brain at 3T. METHODS:Freshly frozen ovine brains were dissected into ∼2 mm-thick pure white matter and ∼3 to 8 mm-thick cerebral hemisphere specimens, which were imaged before and/or after different immersion time in deuterium oxide. RESULTS:Bicomponent T2* analysis of UTE signals obtained with hard excitation pulses detected an ultrashort T2 component (STC) fraction (fS ) of 0% to 10% in native specimens, and up to ∼86% in heavily deuterated specimens. fS values were significantly affected by the TIs used in IR-UTE sequences with either hard or half excitation pulses in native specimens but not in heavily deuterated specimens. The STC T2* was in the range of 150 to 400 µs in all UTE and IR-UTE measurements obtained with either hard or half excitation pulses. CONCLUSION:Our results further support myelin protons as the major source of the ultrashort T2* signals seen on IR-UTE images and demonstrate the potential of IR-UTE sequences with half excitation pulses for directly imaging myelin using clinical scanners. Magn Reson Med 80:538-547, 2017. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

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