Mapping of magnetic resonance imaging’s transverse relaxation time at low signal-to-noise ratio using Bloch simulations and principal component analysis image denoising

Neta Stern, Dvir Radunsky, Tamar Blumenfeld-Katzir, Yigal Chechik, Chen Solomon, Noam Ben-Eliezer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

High-resolution mapping of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)’s transverse relaxation time (T2) can benefit many clinical applications by offering improved anatomic details, enhancing the ability to probe tissues’ microarchitecture, and facilitating the identification of early pathology. Increasing spatial resolutions, however, decreases data's signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), particularly at clinical scan times. This impairs imaging quality, and the accuracy of subsequent radiological interpretation. Recently, principal component analysis (PCA) was employed for denoising diffusion-weighted MR images and was shown to be effective for improving parameter estimation in multiexponential relaxometry. This study combines the Marchenko–Pastur PCA (MP-PCA) signal model with the echo modulation curve (EMC) algorithm for denoising multiecho spin-echo (MESE) MRI data and improving the precision of EMC-generated single T2 relaxation maps. The denoising technique was validated on simulations, phantom scans, and in vivo brain and knee data. MESE scans were performed on a 3-T Siemens scanner. The acquired images were denoised using the MP-PCA algorithm and were then provided as input for the EMC T2-fitting algorithm. Quantitative analysis of the denoising quality included comparing the standard deviation and coefficient of variation of T2 values, along with gold standard SNR estimation of the phantom scans. The presented denoising technique shows an increase in T2 maps' precision and SNR, while successfully preserving the morphological features of the tissue. Employing MP-PCA denoising as a preprocessing step decreases the noise-related variability of T2 maps produced by the EMC algorithm and thus increases their precision. The proposed method can be useful for a wide range of clinical applications by facilitating earlier detection of pathologies and improving the accuracy of patients' follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • MRI image denoising
  • T mapping
  • T relaxation
  • denoising
  • quantitative MRI

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