Purpose: Recent MRI techniques have been introduced that can extract microstructural information in the white matter, such as the density or macromolecular content. Translating quantitative MRI to the clinic raises many challenges in terms of acquisition strategy, modeling of the MRI signal, artifact corrections, and metric extraction (template registration and partial volume effects). In this work, we investigated the scan-rescan repeatability of several quantitative MRI techniques in the human spinal cord.
Methods: AxCaliber metrics, macromolecular tissue volume, and the fiber g-ratio were estimated in the spinal cord of eight healthy subjects, scanned and rescanned the same day in two different sessions.
Results: Scan-rescan repeatability deviation was 3% for all metrics, in average in the white matter of all subjects. Intraclass correlation coefficient was up to 0.9. A three-way analysis of variance showed significant effects of white matter pathway, laterality, and subject.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that quantitative MRI gives stable measurements of white matter microstructure in the spinal cord of healthy subjects. Our findings remain to be evaluated in diseased populations. Magn Reson Med 79:2759-2765, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Keywords: AxCaliber; MRI; diffusion; myelin content; spinal cord; g-ratio.
© 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.