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Keywords:

  • myelin water fraction;
  • multigradient-echo pulse sequences;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • non-negative least-squares algorithm;
  • in vivo imaging

Abstract

Quantitative myelin water imaging is able to show demyelinating processes and, therefore, provides insight into the pathology of white matter diseases such as multiple sclerosis. So far, mapping of the myelin water fraction most often was performed using single-slice multiecho spin-echo sequences. Recently, a different approach using two-dimensional multigradient-echo pulse sequences was suggested. In this work, a solution to three-dimensional in vivo myelin water fraction imaging is presented that applies multigradient-echo pulse sequences and uses non-negative least squares algorithms to analyze the multicomponent T*2 decay. The suggested method offers not only whole brain coverage but also clinically practicable acquisition times. The obtained myelin water fraction values are low (6.9% for white matter) but are able to detect demyelination in multiple sclerosis lesions. However, the clinical application of the proposed method remains questionable, because further measurements that clarify the possibility of detecting ongoing processes in lesions are needed. Magn Reson Med, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.