Diffusion-weighted renal MRI at 9.4 Tesla using RARE to improve anatomical integrity


  • J. dos Santos Periquito
  • K. Paul
  • T. Huelnhagen
  • M.C. Ku
  • Y. Ji
  • K. Cantow
  • T. Gladytz
  • D. Grosenick
  • B. Flemming
  • E. Seeliger
  • S. Waiczies
  • T. Niendorf
  • A. Pohlmann


  • Scientific Reports


  • Sci Rep 9 (1): 19723


  • Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is a non-invasive imaging technique sensitive to tissue water movement. By enabling a discrimination between tissue properties without the need of contrast agent administration, DWI is invaluable for probing tissue microstructure in kidney diseases. DWI studies commonly make use of single-shot Echo-Planar Imaging (ss-EPI) techniques that are prone to suffering from geometric distortion. The goal of the present study was to develop a robust DWI technique tailored for preclinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies that is free of distortion and sensitive to detect microstructural changes. Since fast spin-echo imaging techniques are less susceptible to B(0) inhomogeneity related image distortions, we introduced a diffusion sensitization to a split-echo Rapid Acquisition with Relaxation Enhancement (RARE) technique for high field preclinical DWI at 9.4 T. Validation studies in standard liquids provided diffusion coefficients consistent with reported values from the literature. Split-echo RARE outperformed conventional ss-EPI, with ss-EPI showing a 3.5-times larger border displacement (2.60 vs. 0.75) and a 60% higher intra-subject variability (cortex = 74%, outer medulla = 62% and inner medulla = 44%). The anatomical integrity provided by the split-echo RARE DWI technique is an essential component of parametric imaging on the way towards robust renal tissue characterization, especially during kidney disease.