Benoît Vernier^{1,2}, Eric Van Reeth^{1,3}, Marc Lapert^{2}, Olivier Hamelin^{4}, Olivier Beuf^{1}, Hélène Ratiney^{1}, and Frank Pilleul^{4}

^{1}CREATIS, Lyon, France, ^{2}Siemens Healthcare SAS, Saint-Denis, France, ^{3}CPE, Lyon, France, ^{4}Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France

MRI contrast enhancement by Optimal Control is a new approach to design optimal magnetization preparation. This allows to maximize the contrast between target tissues characterized by their relaxation times. Recent numerical implementations have made possible the optimization of such preparation in a steady state sequence without full recovery between each repetition. This abstract demonstrates the contrast flexibility offered by this approach when combined with a MPRAGE sequence on pelvis imaging at 3T.

In the present work, we investigate the possibilities offered by our method when combined with a MPRAGE to reach different contrasts between pelvis tissues on a clinical MRI scanner. Four different optimized contrasts images are acquired on a healthy volunteer to demonstrate the versatility and efficiency of the proposed sequence design.

$$\begin{cases} \min_{u} \ C = |S_{a,i}| -|S_{b,i}|\\subject \ to\ |S_{a,i}|=0\ and\ TS =2 \end{cases} $$

Where:

- Optimization variables vector composed of angles, phases and delays : $$u \in R^{\ {N\times3}+1}$$
- Signal intensity
of tissue a, to be saturated, or
tissue b, to be maximized, after the
i
^{th}gradient echo acquisition of the readout, once the steady state is achieved : $$S_{a/b,i} $$ - Time of a segment : $$TS\ (s) $$

T1 and T2 of a healthy volunteer were measured with respectively: two VIBE sequences with two different flip angles (2°,10°) and B1 correction, a CPMG train with 8 TE from 10ms to 60ms. Results were compared and harmonized with the literature

This relaxation times were used to optimize different contrasts between tissues : (A) fat enhancement with internal obturator (io) muscle saturation*, (B) io-muscle enhancement with fat saturation, (C) io-muscle enhancement with prostate saturation, (D) io-muscle enhancement with both bladder and fat saturation. (D) is more complex since two tissues were saturated.

Acquistion parameters remained unchanged between the different solutions (Table 1, B). The four optimized sequences were applied on the healthy volunteer on a 3T Magnetom Vida (Siemens Healthineers, Erlangen). SNR in each region of interest was measured and compared to expected values from the theoretical model.

*Note that for the optimization A, the set of pulses angles was fixed.

(A) :$$1256ms\ -\ 90^{°}\ - \ 15ms\ - 180^{°} \ - 15ms\ -\ 90_{\phi=180^{°}}^°\ -\ 330ms-\ acquisition$$

(B) :$$10ms\ -\ 90^{°}\ - \ 18ms\ - 180^{°} \ - 18ms\ -\ 90_{\phi=180^{°}}^°\ -\ 1320ms-\ 180^{°} -\ 250ms\ - acquisition$$

(C) :$$1202ms\ -\ 90^{°}\ - \ 30ms\ - 180^{°} \ - 30ms\ -\ 90_{\phi=180^{°}}^°\ -\ 354ms-\ acquisition$$

(D) :$$520ms\ -\ 90^{°}\ - \ 50ms\ - 180^{°} \ - 50ms\ -\ 90_{\phi=180^{°}}^°\ -\ 768ms-\ 180^{°} -\ 228ms\ - acquisition$$

The first line of Figure 2 shows the longitudinal magnetizations’ evolution along a cycle for all four optimized contrasts. The second line illustrates the normalized signal intensity in the center of a k-space as a function of T1/T2 values. Figure 3 and 4 confirms the good saturation of io-muscle, ischiorectal fat, prostate, ischiorectal fat and bladder respectively for optimizations (A), (B), (C) and (D) . Figure 5 shows SNR of each tissue and demonstrates that four contrasts objectives are reached.

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Table 1: A - Relaxation times for the optimizations. B - Parameters of the sequence.

Figure 2: Upper images represent longitudinal
evolution of the magnetizations over a cycle for fat, muscle, bladder and
prostate. In each optimization (A, B, C, D), solid lines represent the longitudinal magnetizations of the tissues targeted in each
optimization (maximized or minimized). Dotted lines
represent the longitudinal magnetizations of the other tissues that are not
considered in the optimization. Lower images represent transverse magnetization in the center of the k-space (i.e.after the first excitation of the acquisition time in a cycle) in the (T1/T2)-space.

Figure 3: Results of the optimized sequences on a healthy volunteer for the four different preparation modules and the same acquisition scheme. Upper images are zoomed in the prostate area. At the right, ROI segmentations used for signal intensity measurement of the internal obturator muscle (red), the prostate (purple), the fat tissue of the ischiorectal fossa (yellow).

Figure 4 : Results of the optimized sequences on our healthy volunteer for the four different preparation modules and the same acquisition. Upper images are zoomed in a plane containing the bladder and the rectum. At the right, segmentations of the bladder (green) and rectum (blue). Maximum SNR is indicated on each images.

Figure 5 : Maximaum SNR is indicated on each images. Bars surrounded by a black border represents the averaged SNR of targeted tissues in each optimization (A,B,C,D). Striped bars refer to the SNR of tissues expected to be minimized, fully colored bars refer to the signal of tissues expected to be concomitantly maximized. Semi-transparent bars represent the resulting signal of other tissues, not targeted in the optimization.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.58530/2022/1711