A comprehensive protocol for quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of the brain at 3 Tesla

Dvir Radunsky, Chen Solomon, Neta Stern, Tamar Blumenfeld-Katzir, Shir Filo, Aviv Mezer, Anita Karsa, Karin Shmueli, Lucas Soustelle, Guillaume Duhamel, Olivier M. Girard, Gal Kepler, Shai Shrot, Chen Hoffmann, Noam Ben-Eliezer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative MRI (qMRI) has been shown to be clinically useful for numerous applications in the brain and body. The development of rapid, accurate, and reproducible qMRI techniques offers access to new multiparametric data, which can provide a comprehensive view of tissue pathology. This work introduces a multiparametric qMRI protocol along with full postprocessing pipelines, optimized for brain imaging at 3 Tesla and using state-of-the-art qMRI tools. The total scan time is under 50 minutes and includes eight pulse-sequences, which produce range of quantitative maps including T1, T2, and T2* relaxation times, magnetic susceptibility, water and macromolecular tissue fractions, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy, magnetization transfer ratio (MTR), and inhomogeneous MTR. Practical tips and limitations of using the protocol are also provided and discussed. Application of the protocol is presented on a cohort of 28 healthy volunteers and 12 brain regions-of-interest (ROIs). Quantitative values agreed with previously reported values. Statistical analysis revealed low variability of qMRI parameters across subjects, which, compared to intra-ROI variability, was x4.1 ± 0.9 times higher on average. Significant and positive linear relationship was found between right and left hemispheres’ values for all parameters and ROIs with Pearson correlation coefficients of r>0.89 (P<0.001), and mean slope of 0.95 ± 0.04. Finally, scan-rescan stability demonstrated high reproducibility of the measured parameters across ROIs and volunteers, with close-to-zero mean difference and without correlation between the mean and difference values (across map types, mean P value was 0.48 ± 0.27). The entire quantitative data and postprocessing scripts described in the manuscript are publicly available under dedicated GitHub and Figshare repositories. The quantitative maps produced by the presented protocol can promote longitudinal and multi-center studies, and improve the biological interpretability of qMRI by integrating multiple metrics that can reveal information, which is not apparent when examined using only a single contrast mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0297244
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5 May
StatePublished - May 2024


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2009/17
Israel Science Foundation


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