Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in rat kidney using two-dimensional navigated, interleaved echo-planar imaging at 7.0 T


  • Q. Liu
  • Z. Xu
  • K. Zhao
  • W.S. Hoge
  • X. Zhang
  • Y. Mei
  • Q. Lu
  • T. Niendorf
  • Y. Feng


  • NMR in Biomedicine


  • NMR Biomed 35 (5): e4652


  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of two-dimensional (2D) navigated, interleaved multishot echo-planar imaging (EPI) to enhance kidney diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in rats at 7.0 T. Fully sampled interleaved four-shot EPI with 2D navigators was tailored for kidney DWI (Sprague-Dawley rats, n = 7) on a 7.0-T small bore preclinical scanner. The image quality of four-shot EPI was compared with T(2) -weighted rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) (reference) and single-shot EPI (ss-EPI) without and with parallel imaging (PI). The contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was examined to assess the image quality for the EPI approaches. The Dice similarity coefficient and the Hausdorff distance were used for evaluation of image distortion. Mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were calculated for renal cortex and medulla for all DWI approaches. The corticomedullary difference of MD and FA were assessed by Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Four-shot EPI showed the highest CNR among the three EPI variants and lowest geometric distortion versus T(2) -weighted RARE (mean Dice: 0.77 for ss-EPI without PI, 0.88 for ss-EPI with twofold undersampling, and 0.92 for four-shot EPI). The FA map derived from four-shot EPI clearly identified a highly anisotropic region corresponding to the inner stripe of the outer medulla. Four-shot EPI successfully discerned differences in both MD and FA between renal cortex and medulla. In conclusion, 2D navigated, interleaved multishot EPI facilitates high-quality rat kidney DWI with clearly depicted intralayer and interlayer structure and substantially reduced image distortion. This approach enables the anatomic integrity of DWI-MRI in small rodents and has the potential to benefit the characterization of renal microstructure in preclinical studies.