Inversion recovery UTE based volumetric myelin imaging in human brain using interleaved hybrid encoding

Magn Reson Med. 2020 Mar;83(3):950-961. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27986. Epub 2019 Sep 18.


Purpose: Direct myelin imaging can improve the characterization of myelin-related diseases such as multiple sclerosis. In this study, we explore a novel method to directly image myelin using inversion recovery-prepared hybrid encoding (IR-HE) UTE MRI.

Methods: The IR-HE sequence uses an adiabatic inversion pulse to suppress the long T2 white matter signal, followed by 3D dual-echo HE utilizing both single point imaging and radial frequency encoding, for which the subtraction image between 2 echoes reveals the myelin signal with high contrast. To reduce scan time, it is common to obtain multiple spokes per IR. Here, we invented a novel method to improve the HE, adapted for the multi-spoke IR imaging-termed interleaved HE-for which single point imaging encoding is interleaved between radial frequency encodings near nulling point to allow more efficient IR-signal suppression. To evaluate the proposed approach, a computer simulation, myelin phantom experiment, an ex vivo experiment with a cadaveric multiple sclerosis brain, and an in vivo experiment with 8 healthy volunteers and 13 multiple sclerosis patients were performed.

Results: The computer simulation showed that IR-interleaved HE allows for improved contrast of myelin signal with reduced imaging artifacts. The myelin phantom experiment showed IR-interleaved HE allows direct imaging of myelin lipid with excellent suppression of water signal. In the ex vivo and in vivo experiments, the proposed method demonstrated highly specific imaging of myelin in white matter of the brain.

Conclusion: IR-interleaved HE allows for time-efficient, high-contrast direct myelin imaging and can detect demyelinated lesions in multiple sclerosis patients.

Keywords: UTE; hybrid encoding; inversion recovery; multiple sclerosis; myelin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cadaver
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myelin Sheath / chemistry*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Skull / diagnostic imaging
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging


  • Lipids