It has been shown that density-weighted (DW) k-space sampling with spiral and conventional phase encoding trajectories reduces spatial side lobes in magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI). In this study, we propose a new concentric ring trajectory (CRT) for DW-MRSI that samples k-space with a density that is proportional to a spatial, isotropic Hanning window. The properties of two different DW-CRTs were compared against a radially equidistant (RE) CRT and an echo-planar spectroscopic imaging (EPSI) trajectory in simulations, phantoms and in vivo experiments. These experiments, conducted at 7 T with a fixed nominal voxel size and matched acquisition times, revealed that the two DW-CRT designs improved the shape of the spatial response function by suppressing side lobes, also resulting in improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). High-quality spectra were acquired for all trajectories from a specific region of interest in the motor cortex with an in-plane resolution of 7.5 × 7.5 mm(2) in 8 min 3 s. Due to hardware limitations, high-spatial-resolution spectra with an in-plane resolution of 5 × 5 mm(2) and an acquisition time of 12 min 48 s were acquired only for the RE and one of the DW-CRT trajectories and not for EPSI. For all phantom and in vivo experiments, DW-CRTs resulted in the highest SNR. The achieved in vivo spectral quality of the DW-CRT method allowed for reliable metabolic mapping of eight metabolites including N-acetylaspartylglutamate, γ-aminobutyric acid and glutathione with Cramér-Rao lower bounds below 50%, using an LCModel analysis. Finally, high-quality metabolic mapping of a whole brain slice using DW-CRT was achieved with a high in-plane resolution of 5 × 5 mm(2) in a healthy subject. These findings demonstrate that our DW-CRT MRSI technique can perform robustly on MRI systems and within a clinically feasible acquisition time.
NMR in biomedicine