Fast and high-resolution myelin water imaging: Accelerating multi-echo GRASE with CAIPIRINHA

Gian Franco Piredda*, Tom Hilbert, Erick Jorge Canales-Rodríguez, Marco Pizzolato, Constantin von Deuster, Reto Meuli, Josef Pfeuffer, Alessandro Daducci, Jean Philippe Thiran, Tobias Kober

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Although several MRI methods have been explored to achieve in vivo myelin quantification, imaging the whole brain in clinically acceptable times and sufficiently high resolution remains challenging. To address this problem, this work investigates the acceleration of multi-echo T2 acquisitions based on the multi-echo gradient and spin echo (GRASE) sequence using CAIPIRINHA undersampling and adapted k-space reordering patterns. Methods: A prototype multi-echo GRASE sequence supporting CAIPIRINHA parallel imaging was implemented. Multi-echo T2 data were acquired from 12 volunteers using the implemented sequence (1.6 × 1.6 × 1.6 mm3, 84 slices, acquisition time [TA] = 10:30 min) and a multi-echo spin echo (MESE) sequence as reference (1.6 × 1.6 × 3.2 mm3, single-slice, TA = 5:41 min). Myelin water fraction (MWF) maps derived from both acquisitions were compared via correlation and Bland-Altman analyses. In addition, scan-rescan datasets were acquired to evaluate the repeatability of the derived maps. Results: Resulting maps from the MESE and multi-echo GRASE sequences were found to be correlated (r = 0.83). The Bland-Altman analysis revealed a mean bias of −0.2% (P =.24) with the limits of agreement ranging from −3.7% to 3.3%. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient among MWF values obtained from the scan-rescan datasets was found to be 0.95 and the mean bias equal to 0.11% (P =.32), indicating good repeatability of the retrieved maps. Conclusion: By combining a 3D multi-echo GRASE sequence with CAIPIRINHA sampling, whole-brain MWF maps were obtained in 10:30 min with 1.6 mm isotropic resolution. The good correlation with conventional MESE-based maps demonstrates that the implemented sequence may be a promising alternative to time-consuming MESE acquisitions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)209-222
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Human brain
  • MRI
  • Multi-echo GRASE
  • Myelin water imaging
  • Parallel imaging


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