Multishot versus single-shot pulse sequences in very high field fMRI: a comparison using retinotopic mapping

PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34626. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034626. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


High-resolution functional MRI is a leading application for very high field (7 Tesla) human MR imaging. Though higher field strengths promise improvements in signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) and BOLD contrast relative to fMRI at 3 Tesla, these benefits may be partially offset by accompanying increases in geometric distortion and other off-resonance effects. Such effects may be especially pronounced with the single-shot EPI pulse sequences typically used for fMRI at standard field strengths. As an alternative, one might consider multishot pulse sequences, which may lead to somewhat lower temporal SNR than standard EPI, but which are also often substantially less susceptible to off-resonance effects. Here we consider retinotopic mapping of human visual cortex as a practical test case by which to compare examples of these sequence types for high-resolution fMRI at 7 Tesla. We performed polar angle retinotopic mapping at each of 3 isotropic resolutions (2.0, 1.7, and 1.1 mm) using both accelerated single-shot 2D EPI and accelerated multishot 3D gradient-echo pulse sequences. We found that single-shot EPI indeed led to greater temporal SNR and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) than the multishot sequences. However, additional distortion correction in postprocessing was required in order to fully realize these advantages, particularly at higher resolutions. The retinotopic maps produced by both sequence types were qualitatively comparable, and showed equivalent test/retest reliability. Thus, when surface-based analyses are planned, or in other circumstances where geometric distortion is of particular concern, multishot pulse sequences could provide a viable alternative to single-shot EPI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*