Quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) imaging can be used to quantify the proportion of protons in a voxel attached to macromolecules. Here, we show that the original qMT balanced steady‐state free precession (bSSFP) model is biased due to over‐simplistic assumptions made in its derivation.
Theory and Methods
We present an improved model for qMT bSSFP, which incorporates finite radiofrequency (RF) pulse effects as well as simultaneous exchange and relaxation. Furthermore, a correction relating to finite RF pulse effects for sinc‐shaped excitations is derived. The new model is compared to the original one in numerical simulations of the Bloch‐McConnell equations and in previously acquired in vivo data.
Our numerical simulations show that the original signal equation is significantly biased in typical brain tissue structures (by 7%‐20%), whereas the new signal equation outperforms the original one with minimal bias (<1%). It is further shown that the bias of the original model strongly affects the acquired qMT parameters in human brain structures, with differences in the clinically relevant parameter of pool‐size‐ratio of up to 31%. Particularly high biases of the original signal equation are expected in an MS lesion within diseased brain tissue (due to a low T2/T1‐ratio), demanding a more accurate model for clinical applications.
The improved model for qMT bSSFP is recommended for accurate qMT parameter mapping in healthy and diseased brain tissue structures.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.