Considerations in high-resolution skeletal muscle diffusion tensor imaging using single-shot echo planar imaging with stimulated-echo preparation and sensitivity encoding

Dimitrios C. Karampinos, Suchandrima Banerjee, Kevin F. King, Thomas M. Link, Sharmila Majumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that skeletal muscle diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can noninvasively probe changes in the muscle fiber architecture and microstructure in diseased and damaged muscles. However, DTI fiber reconstruction in small muscles and in muscle regions close to aponeuroses and tendons remains challenging because of partial volume effects. Increasing the spatial resolution of skeletal muscle single-shot diffusion-weighted echo planar imaging (DW-EPI) can be hindered by the inherently low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of muscle DW-EPI because of the short muscle T 2 and the high sensitivity of single-shot EPI to off-resonance effects and T 2* blurring. In this article, eddy current-compensated diffusion-weighted stimulated-echo preparation is combined with sensitivity encoding (SENSE) to maintain good SNR properties and to reduce the sensitivity to distortions and T 2* blurring in high-resolution skeletal muscle single-shot DW-EPI. An analytical framework is developed to optimize the reduction factor and diffusion weighting time to achieve maximum SNR. Arguments for the selection of the experimental parameters are then presented considering the compromise between SNR, B 0-induced distortions, T 2* blurring effects and tissue incoherent motion effects. On the basis of the selected parameters in a high-resolution skeletal muscle single-shot DW-EPI protocol, imaging protocols at lower acquisition matrix sizes are defined with matched bandwidth in the phase-encoding direction and SNR. Invivo results show that high-resolution skeletal muscle DTI with minimized sensitivity to geometric distortions and T 2* blurring is feasible using the proposed methodology. In particular, a significant benefit is demonstrated from a reduction in partial volume effects for resolving multi-pennate muscles and muscles with small cross-sections in calf muscle DTI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-778
Number of pages13
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • High-resolution DTI
  • Single-shot EPI
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Stimulated echo

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