Rapid parametric mapping of the longitudinal relaxation time t1 using two-dimensional variable flip angle magnetic resonance imaging at 1.5 Tesla, 3 Tesla, and 7 Tesla


  • M.A. Dieringer
  • M. Deimling
  • D. Santoro
  • J. Wuerfel
  • V.I. Madai
  • J. Sobesky
  • F. von Knobelsdorff-Brenkenhoff
  • J. Schulz-Menger
  • T. Niendorf


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 9 (3): e91318


  • INTRODUCTION: Visual but subjective reading of longitudinal relaxation time (T1) weighted magnetic resonance images is commonly used for the detection of brain pathologies. For this non-quantitative measure, diagnostic quality depends on hardware configuration, imaging parameters, radio frequency transmission field (B1+) uniformity, as well as observer experience. Parametric quantification of the tissue T1 relaxation parameter offsets the propensity for these effects, but is typically time consuming. For this reason, this study examines the feasibility of rapid 2D T1 quantification using a variable flip angles (VFA) approach at magnetic field strengths of 1.5 Tesla, 3 Tesla, and 7 Tesla. These efforts include validation in phantom experiments and application for brain T1 mapping. METHODS: T1 quantification included simulations of the Bloch equations to correct for slice profile imperfections, and a correction for B1+. Fast gradient echo acquisitions were conducted using three adjusted flip angles for the proposed T1 quantification approach that was benchmarked against slice profile uncorrected 2D VFA and an inversion-recovery spin-echo based reference method. Brain T1 mapping was performed in six healthy subjects, one multiple sclerosis patient, and one stroke patient. RESULTS: Phantom experiments showed a mean T1 estimation error of (-63±1.5)% for slice profile uncorrected 2D VFA and (0.2±1.4)% for the proposed approach compared to the reference method. Scan time for single slice T1 mapping including B1+ mapping could be reduced to 5 seconds using an in-plane resolution of (2×2) mm2, which equals a scan time reduction of more than 99% compared to the reference method. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that rapid 2D T1 quantification using a variable flip angle approach is feasible at 1.5T/3T/7T. It represents a valuable alternative for rapid T1 mapping due to the gain in speed versus conventional approaches. This progress may serve to enhance the capabilities of parametric MR based lesion detection and brain tissue characterization.