It has become increasingly important to quantitatively estimate tissue physiological parameters such as perfusion, capillary permeability, and the volume of extravascular-extracellular space (EES) using T(1)-weighted dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI). A linear equation was derived by integrating the differential equation describing the kinetic behavior of contrast agent (CA) in tissue, from which K(1) (rate constant for the transfer of CA from plasma to EES), k(2) (rate constant for the transfer from EES to plasma), and V(p) (plasma volume) can be easily obtained by the linear least-squares (LLSQ) method. The usefulness of this method was investigated by means of computer simulations, in comparison with the nonlinear least-squares (NLSQ) method. The new method calculated the above parameters faster than the NLSQ method by a factor of approximately 6, and estimated them more accurately than the NLSQ method at a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of < approximately 10. This method will be useful for generating functional images of K(1), k(2), and V(p) from DCE-MRI data.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.