Contrast-enhanced perfusion studies of the brain by means magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to estimate a number of important brain tissue parameters, including cerebral blood flow and volume. In order to calculate these parameters, the contrast agent (CA) concentration must first be estimated. This is usually accomplished by measurement of a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation rate with the assumption of a linear relationship between the rate and the CA concentration. However, such a linear relationship does not necessarily hold in biological tissues due to compartmentalization of the CA in either the intravascular or extracellular spaces. Here we propose an alternative MRI method of CA quantification based on measurement of the magnetic field correlation (MFC), which is theoretically predicted to have a robust quadratic dependence on the CA concentration even when the CA is compartmentalized. In this study, CA concentration estimation by means of MFC is shown to be more accurate than established methods based on relaxation rates in yeast cell suspensions.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.