Fast tomoelastography of the mouse brain by multifrequency single-shot MR elastography

Magn Reson Med. 2019 Apr;81(4):2676-2687. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27586. Epub 2018 Nov 4.


Purpose: To introduce in vivo multifrequency single-shot magnetic resonance elastography for full-FOV stiffness mapping of the mouse brain and to compare in vivo stiffness of neural tissues with different white-to-gray matter ratios.

Methods: Viscous phantoms and 10 C57BL-6 mice were investigated by 7T small-animal MRI using a single-shot spin-echo planar imaging magnetic resonance elastography sequence with motion-encoding gradients positioned before the refocusing pulse. Wave images were acquired over 10 minutes for 6 mechanical vibration frequencies between 900 and 1400 Hz. Stiffness maps of shear wave speed (SWS) were computed using tomoelastography data processing and compared with algebraic Helmholtz inversion (AHI) for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) analysis. Different brain regions were analyzed including cerebral cortex, corpus callosum, hippocampus, and diencephalon.

Results: In phantoms, algebraic Helmholtz inversion-based SWS was systematically biased by noise and discretization, whereas tomoelastography-derived SWS was consistent over the full SNR range analyzed. Mean in vivo SWS of the whole brain was 3.76 ± 0.33 m/s with significant regional variation (hippocampus = 4.91 ± 0.49 m/s, diencephalon = 4.78 ± 0.78 m/s, cerebral cortex = 3.53 ± 0.29 m/s, and corpus callosum = 2.89 ± 0.17 m/s).

Conclusion: Tomoelastography retrieves mouse brain stiffness within shorter scan times and with greater detail resolution than classical algebraic Helmholtz inversion-based magnetic resonance elastography. The range of SWS values obtained here indicates that mouse white matter is softer than gray matter at the frequencies investigated.

Keywords: elasticity; mouse brain; multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography; shear wave speed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Computer Simulation
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motion
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Shear Strength
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Vibration
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging