In vivo measurement of transverse relaxation time in the mouse brain at 17.6 T



Purpose: To establish regional T1 and T2 values of the healthy mouse brain at ultra-high magnetic field strength of 17.6 T and to follow regional brain T1 and T2 changes with age.

Methods: In vivo T1 and T2 values in the C57BL/6J mouse brain were followed with age using multislice-multiecho sequence and multiple spin echo saturation recovery with variable repetition time sequence, respectively, at 9.4 and 17.6 T. Gadolinium-tetra-azacyclo-dodecane-tetra-acetic acid phantoms were used to validate in vivo T2 measurements. Student's t-test was used to compare mean relaxation values.

Results: A field-dependent decrease in T2 is shown and validated with phantom measurements. T2 values at 17.6 T typically increased with age in multiple brain regions except in the hypothalamus and the caudate-putamen, where a slight decrease was observed. Furthermore, T1 values in various brain regions of young and old mice are presented at 17.6 T. A large gain in signal-to-noise ratio was observed at 17.6 T.

Conclusions: This study establishes for the first time the normative T1 and T2 values at 17.6 T over different mouse brain regions with age. The estimates of in vivo T1 and T2 will be useful to optimize pulse sequences for optimal image contrast at 17.6 T and will serve as baseline values against which disease-related relaxation changes can be assessed in mice. Magn Reson Med, 70:985–993, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.