The visualization of activity in mouse brain using inversion recovery spin echo (IR-SE) manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) provides unique contrast, but suffers from poor resolution in the slice-encoding direction. Super-resolution reconstruction (SRR) is a resolution-enhancing post-processing technique in which multiple low-resolution slice stacks are combined into a single volume of high isotropic resolution using computational methods. In this study, we investigated, first, whether SRR can improve the three-dimensional resolution of IR-SE MEMRI in the slice selection direction, whilst maintaining or improving the contrast-to-noise ratio of the two-dimensional slice stacks. Second, the contrast-to-noise ratio of SRR IR-SE MEMRI was compared with a conventional three-dimensional gradient echo (GE) acquisition. Quantitative experiments were performed on a phantom containing compartments of various manganese concentrations. The results showed that, with comparable scan times, the signal-to-noise ratio of three-dimensional GE acquisition is higher than that of SRR IR-SE MEMRI. However, the contrast-to-noise ratio between different compartments can be superior with SRR IR-SE MEMRI, depending on the chosen inversion time. In vivo experiments were performed in mice receiving manganese using an implanted osmotic pump. The results showed that SRR works well as a resolution-enhancing technique in IR-SE MEMRI experiments. In addition, the SRR image also shows a number of brain structures that are more clearly discernible from the surrounding tissues than in three-dimensional GE acquisition, including a number of nuclei with specific higher brain functions, such as memory, stress, anxiety and reward behavior.

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NMR in Biomedicine (Print)
Department of Radiology

Poole, D.S, Plenge, E, Poot, D.H.J, Lakke, E.A.J.F, Niessen, W.J, Meijering, H.W, & van der Weerd, L. (2014). Three-dimensional inversion recovery manganese-enhanced MRI of mouse brain using super-resolution reconstruction to visualize nuclei involved in higher brain function. NMR in Biomedicine (Print), 27(7), 749–759. doi:10.1002/nbm.3108