OBJECTIVE: To investigate the feasibility of magnetization transfer (MT) imaging in mice in vivo for the assessment of cortical bone.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: MT-zero echo time data were acquired at 4.7 T in six mice using MT preparation pulses with two different flip angles (FAs) and a series of ten different off-resonance frequencies (500-15000 Hz). Regions of interest were drawn at multiple levels of the femoral cortical bone. The MT ratio (MTR) was computed for each combination of FAs and off-resonance frequencies. T1 measurements were used to estimate the direct saturation (DS) using a Bloch equation simulation. Estimation of the absorption line width of cortical bone from T2* measurements was also performed.
RESULTS: MTR values were higher using 3000° FA than 1000° FA. MTR values decreased toward higher off-resonance frequencies. Maximum mean MTR ± standard deviation (SD) of 58.57 ± 5.22 (range 50.44-70.61) was measured with a preparation pulse of 3000° and off-resonance frequency of 500 Hz. Maximum "true" MT effect was estimated at around 2-3 and 5 kHz, respectively, for 1000° and 3000° FA. Mean full width at half maximum ± SD of 577 ± 91 Hz was calculated for the absorption spectral line of the cortical bone.
CONCLUSION: MT imaging can be used for the assessment of cortical bone in mice in vivo. DS effects are negligible using preparation pulses with off-resonance frequencies greater than 3 kHz.