Purpose: Current challenges of in vivo CEST imaging include overlapping signals from different pools. The overlap arises from closely resonating pools and/or the broad magnetization transfer contrast (MTC) from macromolecules. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of variable delay multipulse (VDMP) CEST to separately assess solute pools with different chemical exchange rates in the human brain in vivo, while mitigating the MTC. Methods: VDMP saturation buildup curves were simulated for amines, amides, and relayed nuclear Overhauser effect. VDMP data were acquired from glutamate and bovine serum albumin phantoms, and from six healthy volunteers at 7T. For the in vivo data, MTC removal was performed via a three-pool Lorentzian fitting. Different B1 amplitudes and mixing times were used to evaluate CEST pools with different exchange rates. Results: The results show the importance of removing MTC when applying VDMP in vivo and the influence of B1 for distinguishing different pools. Finally, the optimal B1 and mixing times to effectively saturate slow- and fast-exchanging components are also reported. Slow-exchanging amides and rNOE components could be distinguished when using B1 = 1 μT and tmix = 10 ms and 40 ms, respectively. Fast-exchanging components reached the highest saturation when using a B1 = 2.8 μT and tmix = 0 ms. Conclusion: VDMP is a powerful CEST-editing tool, exploiting chemical exchange-rate differences. After MTC removal, it allows separate assessment of slow- and fast-exchanging solute pools in in vivo human brain.
- chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST)
- ultrahigh field
- variable delay multipulse (VDMP)-CEST
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging