Development of Real-Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Mouse Hearts at 9.4 Tesla--Simulations and First Application.
Wech T., Seiberlich N., Schindele A., Grau V., Diffley L., Gyngell ML., Borzì A., Köstler H., Schneider JE.
A novel method for real-time magnetic resonance imaging for the assessment of cardiac function in mice at 9.4 T is proposed. The technique combines a highly undersampled radial gradient echo acquisition with an image reconstruction utilizing both parallel imaging and compressed sensing. Simulations on an in silico phantom were performed to determine the achievable acceleration factor and to optimize regularization parameters. Several parameters characterizing the quality of the reconstructed images (such as spatial and temporal image sharpness or compartment areas) were calculated for this purpose. Subsequently, double-gated segmented cine data as well as non-gated undersampled real-time data using only six projections per timeframe (temporal resolution ∼ 10 ms) were acquired in a mid-ventricular slice of four normal mouse hearts in vivo. The highly accelerated data sets were then subjected to the introduced reconstruction technique and results were validated against the fully sampled references. Functional parameters obtained from real-time and fully sampled data agreed well with a comparable accuracy for left-ventricular volumes and a slightly larger scatter for mass. This study introduces and validates a real-time cine-MRI technique, which significantly reduces scan time in preclinical cardiac functional imaging and has the potential to investigate mouse models with abnormal heart rhythm.