Title

Effects of MP2RAGE B1+ sensitivity on inter-site T1 reproducibility and hippocampal morphometry at 7T

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Journal

NeuroImage

Volume

224

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117373

Abstract

Most neuroanatomical studies are based on T -weighted MR images, whose intensity profiles are not solely determined by the tissue's longitudinal relaxation times (T ), but also affected by varying non-T contributions, hampering data reproducibility. In contrast, quantitative imaging using the MP2RAGE sequence, for example, allows direct characterization of the brain based on the tissue property of interest. Combined with 7 Tesla (7T) MRI, this offers unique opportunities to obtain robust high-resolution brain data characterized by a high reproducibility, sensitivity and specificity. However, specific MP2RAGE parameter choices – e.g., to emphasize intracortical myelin-dependent contrast variations – can substantially impact image quality and cortical analyses through remnants of B -related intensity variations, as illustrated in our previous work. To follow up on this: we (1) validate this protocol effect using a dataset acquired with a particularly B insensitive set of MP2RAGE parameters combined with parallel transmission excitation; and (2) extend our analyses to evaluate the effects on hippocampal morphometry. The latter remained unexplored initially, but can provide important insights related to generalizability and reproducibility of neurodegenerative research using 7T MRI. We confirm that B inhomogeneities have a considerably variable effect on cortical T estimates, as well as on hippocampal morphometry depending on the MP2RAGE setup. While T differed substantially across datasets initially, we show the inter-site T comparability improves after correcting for the spatially varying B field using a separately acquired Sa2RAGE B map. Finally, removal of B residuals affects hippocampal volumetry and boundary definitions, particularly near structures characterized by strong intensity changes (e.g. cerebral spinal fluid). Taken together, we show that the choice of MP2RAGE parameters can impact T comparability across sites and present evidence that hippocampal segmentation results are modulated by B inhomogeneities. This calls for careful (1) consideration of sequence parameters when setting acquisition protocols, as well as (2) acquisition of a B map to correct MP2RAGE data for potential B variations to allow comparison across datasets. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 + + + + + + + + +

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