Multi-centre, multi-vendor reproducibility of 7T QSM and R2* in the human brain: results from the UK7T study

Clarke, W. T. et al. (2020) Multi-centre, multi-vendor reproducibility of 7T QSM and R2* in the human brain: results from the UK7T study. NeuroImage, 223, 117358. (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117358) (PMID:32916289)

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Introduction: We present the reliability of ultra-high field T2* MRI at 7T, as part of the UK7T Network's “Travelling Heads” study. T2*-weighted MRI images can be processed to produce quantitative susceptibility maps (QSM) and R2* maps. These reflect iron and myelin concentrations, which are altered in many pathophysiological processes. The relaxation parameters of human brain tissue are such that R2* mapping and QSM show particularly strong gains in contrast-to-noise ratio at ultra-high field (7T) vs clinical field strengths (1.5–3T). We aimed to determine the inter-subject and inter-site reproducibility of QSM and R2* mapping at 7T, in readiness for future multi-site clinical studies. Methods: Ten healthy volunteers were scanned with harmonised single- and multi-echo T2*-weighted gradient echo pulse sequences. Participants were scanned five times at each “home” site and once at each of four other sites. The five sites had 1× Philips, 2× Siemens Magnetom, and 2× Siemens Terra scanners. QSM and R2* maps were computed with the Multi-Scale Dipole Inversion (MSDI) algorithm ( Results were assessed in relevant subcortical and cortical regions of interest (ROIs) defined manually or by the MNI152 standard space. Results and Discussion: Mean susceptibility (χ) and R2* values agreed broadly with literature values in all ROIs. The inter-site within-subject standard deviation was 0.001–0.005 ppm (χ) and 0.0005–0.001 ms−1 (R2*). For χ this is 2.1–4.8 fold better than 3T reports, and 1.1–3.4 fold better for R2*. The median ICC from within- and cross-site R2* data was 0.98 and 0.91, respectively. Multi-echo QSM had greater variability vs single-echo QSM especially in areas with large B0 inhomogeneity such as the inferior frontal cortex. Across sites, R2* values were more consistent than QSM in subcortical structures due to differences in B0-shimming. On a between-subject level, our measured χ and R2* cross-site variance is comparable to within-site variance in the literature, suggesting that it is reasonable to pool data across sites using our harmonised protocol. Conclusion: The harmonized UK7T protocol and pipeline delivers on average a 3-fold improvement in the coefficient of reproducibility for QSM and R2* at 7T compared to previous reports of multi-site reproducibility at 3T. These protocols are ready for use in multi-site clinical studies at 7T.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Muir, Professor Keith
Creator Roles:
Muir, K.Conceptualization, Methodology, Project administration, Funding acquisition
Authors: Clarke, W. T., Driver, I. D., Mougin, O., Morgan, A. T., Clare, S., Francis, S., Rua, C., Muir, K., Wise, R., Carpenter, A., Williams, G., Rowe, J. B., Bowtell, R., and Rodgers, C. T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:NeuroImage
ISSN (Online):1095-9572
Published Online:09 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in NeuroImage 223:117358
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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