Background: Susceptibility-based MRI offers a unique opportunity to study neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In this work, we assessed a three-dimensional segmented echo-planar-imaging (3D-EPI) sequence to rapidly acquire high-resolution T2 -weighted and phase contrast images of the whole brain. We also assessed if these images could depict important features of MS at clinical field strength, and we tested the effect of a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA) on these images.
Materials and methods: The 3D-EPI acquisition was performed on four healthy volunteers and 15 MS cases on a 3T scanner. The 3D sagittal images of the whole brain were acquired with a voxel size of 0.55 × 0.55 × 0.55 mm(3) in less than 4 minutes. For the MS cases, the 3D-EPI acquisition was performed before, during, and after intravenous GBCA injection.
Results: Both T2-weighted and phase-contrast images from the 3D-EPI acquisition were sensitive to the presence of lesions, parenchymal veins, and tissue iron. Conspicuity of the veins was enhanced when images were obtained during injection of GBCA.
Conclusions: We propose this rapid imaging sequence for investigating, in a clinical setting, the spatiotemporal relationship between small parenchymal veins, iron deposition, and lesions in MS patient brains.
Keywords: MRI; Multiple sclerosis; brain imaging; contrast agent; iron; lesion; veins.
© The Author(s) 2014.