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

Rua, Catarina, Clarke, William T., Driver, Ian D. ORCID:, Mougin, Olivier, Morgan, Andrew T., Clare, Stuart, Francis, Susan and Muir, Keith W. 2020. Multi-centre, multi-vendor reproducibility of 7T QSM and R2* in the human brain: Results from the UK7T study. NeuroImage 223 , 117358. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117358

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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: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 October 2020
Date of Acceptance: 3 September 2020
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 12:51

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