MR imaging contrast in human brain tissue: assessment and optimization at 4 T.
Duewell S., Wolff SD., Wen H., Balaban RS., Jezzard P.
PURPOSE: To evaluate multiple magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sequences for their ability to provide T1 and T2-weighted images at a field strength of 4 T, and to validate previously obtained relaxation time measurements. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Different spin-echo, inversion-recovery (IR), gradient-recalled acquisition in the steady state (GRASS), and magnetization transfer contrast-enhanced GRASS sequences were evaluated in a single section, each in at least four volunteers. Also, interleaved echo-planar imaging (IEPI) and interleaved gradient-recalled echo (IGRE) sequences were analyzed and compared with standard sequences. RESULTS: Predicted contrast behavior, according to MR relaxation time measurements, was found to agree well with that of the validation experiments. Fair T1 contrast can be achieved on MR images at 4 T, contrary to early predictions. Under other conditions, however, such as partially spin-density-weighted parameters, lower contrast is observed at the high field strength when compared with conventional field strengths. CONCLUSION: The longer T1 values at higher field strengths have a substantial effect on image contrast. Depending on the sequence and parameters chosen, good image contrast can be realized at 4 T. IEPI and hybrid IR IGRE sequences are useful in shortening the prolonged examination times owing to the longer T1 values at higher field strengths.