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Keywords:

  • Bloch–McConnell equations;
  • chemical exchange saturation transfer;
  • magnetization transfer;
  • optimal sampling schedule

The sampling schedule for chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging is normally uniformly distributed across the saturation frequency offsets. When this kind of evenly distributed sampling schedule is used to quantify the chemical exchange saturation transfer effect using model-based analysis, some of the collected data are minimally informative to the parameters of interest. For example, changes in labile proton exchange rate and concentration mainly affect the magnetization near the resonance frequency of the labile pool. In this study, an optimal sampling schedule was designed for a more accurate quantification of amine proton exchange rate and concentration, and water center frequency shift based on an algorithm previously applied to magnetization transfer and arterial spin labeling. The resulting optimal sampling schedule samples repeatedly around the resonance frequency of the amine pool and also near to the water resonance to maximize the information present within the data for quantitative model-based analysis. Simulation and experimental results on tissue-like phantoms showed that greater accuracy and precision (>30% and >46%, respectively, for some cases) were achieved in the parameters of interest when using optimal sampling schedule compared with evenly distributed sampling schedule. Hence, the proposed optimal sampling schedule could replace evenly distributed sampling schedule in chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging to improve the quantification of the chemical exchange saturation transfer effect and parameter estimation. Magn Reson Med 70:1251–1262, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.