Imaging and Quantification of Iron-Oxide Nanoparticles (IONP) Using MP-RAGE and UTE Based Sequences

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To investigate two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) ultrashort echo time (UTE) and 3D magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MP-RAGE) sequences for the imaging of iron-oxide nanoparticles (IONP).


The phantoms were composed of tubes filled with different IONP concentrations ranging from 2 to 45 mM. The tubes were fixed in an agarose gel phantom (0.9% by weight). Morphological imaging was performed with 3D MP-RAGE, 2D UTE, 2D adiabatic inversion recovery–prepared UTE (2D IR-UTE), 3D UTE with Cones trajectory (3D Cones), and 3D IR-Cones sequences. Quantitative assessment of IONP concentration was performed using Symbol and R1 (1/T1) measurements using a 3 Tesla (T) scanner.


The 3D MP-RAGE sequence provides high-contrast images of IONP with concentration up to 7.5 mM. Higher IONP concentration up to 37.5 mM can be detected with the UTE sequences, with the highest IONP contrast provided by the 3D IR-Cones sequence. A linear relationship was observed between Symbol and IONP concentration up to ∼45 mM, and between R1 and IONP concentration up to ∼30 mM.


The clinical 3D MP-RAGE sequence can be used to assess lower IONP concentration up to 7.5 mM. The UTE sequences can be used to assess higher IONP concentration up to 45 mM.

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