Ultra-short echo time (UTE) MR imaging of the lung: comparison between normal and emphysematous lungs in mutant mice

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Aug;32(2):326-33. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22267.


Purpose: To investigate the utility of ultra-short echo time (UTE) sequence as pulmonary MRI to detect non-uniform disruption of lung architecture that is typical of emphysema.

Materials and methods: MRI of the lungs was conducted with a three-dimensional UTE sequence in transgenic mice with severe emphysema and their wild-type littermates in a 3 Tesla clinical MR system. Measurements of the signal intensity (SI) and transverse relaxation time (T2*) of the lung parenchyma were performed with various echo times (TEs) ranging from 100 micros to 2 ms.

Results: Much higher SI of the lung parenchyma was observed at an UTE of 100 micros compared with longer TEs. The emphysematous lungs had reduced SIs and T2* than the controls, in particular at end-expiratory phase. The results suggested that both SI and T2* in lung parenchyma measured with the method represent fractional volume of lung tissue.

Conclusion: The UTE imaging provided MR signal from the lung parenchyma. Moreover, the UTE sequence was sensitive to emphysematous changes and may provide a direct assessment of lung parenchyma. UTE imaging has the potential to assist detection of localized pathological destruction of lung tissue architecture in emphysema.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artifacts
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Homozygote
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Mice
  • Motion
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology*