Measuring the labeling efficiency of pseudocontinuous arterial spin labeling

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Abstract

Purpose

Optimization and validation of a sequence for measuring the labeling efficiency of pseudocontinuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL) perfusion MRI.

Methods

The proposed sequence consists of a labeling module and a single slice Look-Locker echo planar imaging readout. A model-based algorithm was used to calculate labeling efficiency from the signal acquired from the main brain-feeding arteries. Stability of the labeling efficiency measurement was evaluated with regard to the use of cardiac triggering, flow compensation and vein signal suppression. Accuracy of the measurement was assessed by comparing the measured labeling efficiency to mean brain pCASL signal intensity over a wide range of flip angles as applied in the pCASL labeling.

Results

Simulations show that the proposed algorithm can effectively calculate labeling efficiency when correcting for T1 relaxation of the blood spins. Use of cardiac triggering and vein signal suppression improved stability of the labeling efficiency measurement, while flow compensation resulted in little improvement. The measured labeling efficiency was found to be linearly (R = 0.973; P < 0.001) related to brain pCASL signal intensity over a wide range of pCASL flip angles.

Conclusion

The optimized labeling efficiency sequence provides robust artery-specific labeling efficiency measurement within a short acquisition time (˜30 s), thereby enabling improved accuracy of pCASL CBF quantification. Magn Reson Med, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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