Fast Open-Source Toolkit for Water T2 Mapping in the Presence of Fat From Multi-Echo Spin-Echo Acquisitions for Muscle MRI

Francesco Santini, Xeni Deligianni, Matteo Paoletti, Francesca Solazzo, Matthias Weigel, Paulo Loureiro De Sousa, Oliver Bieri, Mauro Monforte, Enzo Ricci, Giorgio Tasca, Anna Pichiecchio, Niels Bergsland

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Imaging has become a valuable tool in the assessment of neuromuscular diseases, and, specifically, quantitative MR imaging provides robust biomarkers for the monitoring of disease progression. Quantitative evaluation of fat infiltration and quantification of the T2 values of the muscular tissue's water component (wT2) are two of the most essential indicators currently used. As each voxel of the image can contain both water and fat, a two-component model for the estimation of wT2 must be used. In this work, we present a fast method for reconstructing wT2 maps obtained from conventional multi-echo spin-echo (MESE) acquisitions and released as Free Open Source Software. The proposed software is capable of fast reconstruction thanks to extended phase graphs (EPG) simulations and dictionary matching implemented on a general-purpose graphic processing unit. The program can also perform more conventional biexponential least-squares fitting of the data and incorporate information from an external water-fat acquisition to increase the accuracy of the results. The method was applied to the scans of four healthy volunteers and five subjects suffering from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Conventional multi-slice MESE acquisitions were performed with 17 echoes, and additionally, a 6-echo multi-echo gradient-echo (MEGE) sequence was used for an independent fat fraction calculation. The proposed reconstruction software was applied on the full datasets, and additionally to reduced number of echoes, respectively, to 8, 5, and 3, using EPG and biexponential least-squares fitting, with and without incorporating information from the MEGE acquisition. The incorporation of external fat fraction maps increased the robustness of the fitting with a reduced number of echoes per datasets, whereas with unconstrained fitting, the total of 17 echoes was necessary to retain an independence of wT2 from the level of fat infiltration. In conclusion, the proposed software can successfully be used to calculate wT2 maps from conventional MESE acquisition, allowing the usage of an optimized protocol with similar precision and accuracy as a 17-echo acquisition. As it is freely released to the community, it can be used as a reference for more extensive cohort studies.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)630387-630387
Numero di pagine1
RivistaFrontiers in Neurology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • MRI
  • fat water imaging
  • free open source software
  • neuromuscular diseases
  • relaxometry
  • water T2 relaxation time


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