Investigating electromagnetic properties of brain tissue using 7 T MRI

Kleban, Elena (2018) Investigating electromagnetic properties of brain tissue using 7 T MRI. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging allows electromagnetic properties of the brain to be measured in vivo, providing new markers of structure at a microscopic level. Evaluation of the local complex signal evolution observed using a multi-echo gradient-echo (MEGE) sequence can allow the electromagnetic and relaxivity properties of individual tissue compartments to be accessed. The phase evolution carries valuable information about the different compartments, but is dominated by non-local, large-length-scale field variations which present the main challenge in processing complex MEGE data. In this work 2-compartment and 3-pool models are used to describe signal evolution from a mixed tissue and venous compartment and from white matter, respectively. A new method for removing the effects of non-local field variations without corrupting local non-mono-exponential phase evolution is proposed.

The 2-compartment model of venous blood complex signal has been used to access the vascular dependence on orientation and oxygenation levels, and has been validated against existing methods on large distinguishable veins. A phantom consisting of capillary tubes filled with ferritin solution immersed in a water bath has been used to validate the 2-compartment model and the estimated frequency offsets between the ferritin and water compartments at multiple orientations to B⃗0 shown to agree with predictions of theory.

White matter in the corpus callosum has been investigated using a saturation-recovery MEGE sequence with variable flip angles with the aim of revealing differences in the T1-relaxation properties of the myelin, the external and the intra-axonal water compartments. The results show that the relative saturation of the myelin water compartment decreases with increasing flip angle and is consistent with there being a short-T1 component associated with myelin water. However, the observed signal behaviour shows less contrast than expected based on the findings from the previous studies. This could be related to differences in exchange rates between compartments.

Finally, diffusion-weighted, asymmetric spin-echo imaging was used to simultaneously investigate the diffusivity and electromagnetic properties of the external and intra-axonal compartments of white matter. This approach could provide additional information about white matter microstructure. Asymmetry of the spin echo sequence was achieved by delaying the acquisition by ∆t. The preliminary results show an increase in the scaled magnitude with echo delay at a constant b-value in some regions of the corpus callosum. The preliminary results are promising, but further investigation and method development are required.

This thesis has investigated a number of novel methods of studying white matter structure and cerebral microvasculature.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bowtell, Richard
Gowland, Penny
Keywords: MRI, complex signal processing, brain microstructure, gradient-echo, diffusion, myelin, venous blood, ferritin phantom, physiological motion, field perturbation
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC501 Electricity and magnetism
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC 321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Item ID: 51795
Depositing User: Kleban, Elena
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 13:43
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2020 04:30

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