Purpose: The purpose of this work was to quantitate the individual and combined effects of magnetization transfer (MT) saturation and gadolinium (Gd) on the visualization of intracranial vessels with MR angiography (MRA).
Method: Thirty-five subjects underwent two three-dimensional time-of-flight MRA sequences without and with MT and/or Gd. There were 14 MR angiograms without Gd or MT, 18 with MT only, 17 with Gd only, and 21 with both Gd and MT. On a projection image, a region of interest was drawn to delineate the arteries in the middle cerebral artery territory. The total area of blood vessels in the region of interest was calculated for each MR angiogram. Mean vessel areas for the four types of MRA were compared with analysis of variance.
Results: MRA with either MT or Gd alone showed significantly more vessel area than MRA without either (p < 0.05). MRA with MT alone and MRA with Gd alone were not different from each other (p = 0.29). The improvement in vessel area measured by using MT and Gd together was significantly more than expected from the cumulative improvement of adding each alone (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Combining MT and Gd synergistically improved the visualization of intracranial vessels on MRA.