A high degree of structural order by white matter (WM) fibre tracts creates a physicochemical environment where water relaxations are rendered anisotropic. Recently, angularly dependent longitudinal relaxation has been reported in human WM. We have characterised interrelationships between T1 relaxation and diffusion MRI microstructural indices at 3 and 7 T. Eleven volunteers consented to participate in the study. Multishell diffusion MR images were acquired with b-values of 0/1500/3000 and 0/1000/2000 s/mm2 at 1.5 and 1.05 mm3 isotropic resolutions at 3 and 7 T, respectively. DTIFIT was used to compute DTI indices; the fibre-to-field angle (θFB) maps were obtained using the principal eigenvector images. The orientations and volume fractions of multiple fibre populations were estimated using BedpostX in FSL, and the orientation dispersion index (ODI) was estimated using the NODDI protocol. MP2RAGE was used to acquire images for T1 maps at 1.0 and 0.9 mm3 isotropic resolutions at 3 and 7 T, respectively. At 3 T, T1 as a function of θFB in WM with high fractional anisotropy and one-fibre orientation volume fraction or low ODI shows a broad peak centred at 50o, but a flat baseline at 0o and 90o. The broad peak amounted up to 7% of the mean T1. At 7 T, the broad peak appeared at 40o and T1 in fibres running parallel to B0 was longer by up to 75 ms (8.3% of the mean T1) than in those perpendicular to the field. The peak at 40o was approximately 5% of mean T1 (i.e., proportionally smaller than that at 54o at 3 T). The data demonstrate T1 anisotropy in WM with high microstructural order at both fields. The angular patterns are indicative of the B0-dependency of T1 anisotropy. Thus myelinated WM fibres influence T1 contrast both by acting as a T1 contrast agent and rendering T1 dependent on fibre orientation with B0.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Discussions with Drs. Michael J. Knight and Robin A. Damion are appreciated. This study was supported by the NIBIB (RO3 EB027873).
© 2022 The Authors. NMR in Biomedicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- T1 relaxation
- relaxation anisotropy
- white matter
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural