Dynamic contrast-enhanced quantitative susceptibility mapping with ultrashort echo time MRI for evaluating renal function.
Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI can provide key insight into renal function. DCE MRI is typically achieved through an injection of a gadolinium (Gd)-based contrast agent, which has desirable T1 quenching and tracer kinetics. However, significant T2* blooming effects and signal voids can arise when Gd becomes very concentrated, especially in the renal medulla and pelvis. One MRI sequence designed to alleviate T2* effects is the ultrashort echo time (UTE) sequence. In the present study, we observed T2* blooming in the inner medulla of the mouse kidney, despite using UTE at an echo time of 20 microseconds and a low dose of 0.03 mmol/kg Gd. We applied quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and resolved the signal void into a positive susceptibility signal. The susceptibility values [in parts per million (ppm)] were converted into molar concentrations of Gd using a calibration curve. We determined the concentrating mechanism (referred to as the concentrating index) as a ratio of maximum Gd concentration in the inner medulla to the renal artery. The concentrating index was assessed longitudinally over a 17-wk course (3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 17 wk of age). We conclude that the UTE-based DCE method is limited in resolving extreme T2* content caused by the kidney's strong concentrating mechanism. QSM was able to resolve and confirm the source of the blooming effect to be the large positive susceptibility of concentrated Gd. UTE with QSM can complement traditional magnitude UTE and offer a powerful tool to study renal pathophysiology.
Xie, L; Layton, AT; Wang, N; Larson, PEZ; Zhang, JL; Lee, VS; Liu, C; Johnson, GA
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