Purpose: To test the feasibility of ultra-short echo time (UTE) MRI for assessment of regional pulmonary ventilation/perfusion in a standard 3 Tesla clinical MRI system.
Materials and methods: MRI of the lungs was conducted with an optimized three-dimensional UTE sequence in normal rats and in a rat model of pulmonary embolism (PE) induced by a blood clot. Changes in signal intensities (SIs) due to inhalation of molecular oxygen or intravenous (i.v.) injection of Gd, which represents the distribution of ventilation and perfusion, respectively, were assessed in the lung parenchyma.
Results: The UTE MRI with a TE of 100 μs could detect and map the changes in SI of the lung parenchyma due to the inhalation of 100% oxygen or i.v. injection of Gd in normal rats. Reduced T1 resulting from oxygen inhalation was also quantified. These changes were not observed on the images that were obtained simultaneously with a conventional range of TE (2.3 ms). Furthermore, the method could delineate the embolized lesions where the lung ventilation and perfusion were mismatched in a rat model with PE.
Conclusion: These results show the feasibility and diagnostic potential of UTE MRI for the assessment of pulmonary ventilation and perfusion which is essential for the evaluation of a variety of lung diseases.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.