BackgroundQuantitative mapping of MRI relaxation times is expected to uncover pathological processes in the brain more subtly than standard MRI techniques with weighted contrasts. So far, however, most mapping techniques suffer from a long measuring time, low spatial resolution or even sensitivity to magnetic field inhomogeneity.
ObjectiveTo obtain T1 relaxation times of the normal brain from early infancy to adulthood using a novel technique for fast and accurate T1 mapping at high spatial resolution.
Materials and methodsWe performed whole-brain T1 mapping within less than 3 min in 100 patients between 2 months and 18 years of age with normal brain at a field strength of 3 T. We analyzed T1 relaxation times in several gray-matter nuclei and white matter. Subsequently, we derived regression equations for mean value and confidence interval.
ResultsT1 relaxation times of the pediatric brain rapidly decrease in all regions within the first 3 years of age, followed by a significantly weaker decrease until adulthood. These characteristics are more pronounced in white matter than in deep gray matter.
ConclusionRegardless of age, quantitative T1 mapping of the pediatric brain is feasible in clinical practice. Normal age-dependent values should contribute to improved discrimination of subtle intracerebral alterations.
SUBMITTER: Grafe D