Combining inhomogeneous magnetization transfer and multipoint Dixon acquisition: Potential utility and evaluation

Ece Ercan, Gopal Varma, Ivan E. Dimitrov, Yin Xi, Marco C. Pinho, Fang F. Yu, Shu Zhang, Xinzeng Wang, Ananth J. Madhuranthakam, Robert E. Lenkinski, David C. Alsop, Elena Vinogradov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The recently introduced inhomogeneous magnetization transfer (ihMT) method has predominantly been applied for imaging the central nervous system. Future applications of ihMT, such as in peripheral nerves and muscles, will involve imaging in the vicinity of adipose tissues. This work aims to systematically investigate the partial volume effect of fat on the ihMT signal and to propose an efficient fat-separation method that does not interfere with ihMT measurements. Methods: First, the influence of fat on ihMT signal was studied using simulations. Next, the ihMT sequence was combined with a multi-echo Dixon acquisition for fat separation. The sequence was tested in 9 healthy volunteers using a 3T human scanner. The ihMT ratio (ihMTR) values were calculated in regions of interest in the brain and the spinal cord using standard acquisition (no fat saturation), water-only, in-phase, and out-of-phase reconstructions. The values obtained were compared with a standard fat suppression method, spectral presaturation with inversion recovery. Results: Simulations showed variations in the ihMTR values in the presence of fat, depending on the TEs used. The IhMTR values in the brain and spinal cord derived from the water-only ihMT multi-echo Dixon images were in good agreement with values from the unsuppressed sequence. The ihMT–spectral presaturation with inversion recovery combination resulted in 24%-35% lower ihMTR values compared with the standard non-fat-suppressed acquisition. Conclusion: The presence of fat within a voxel affects the ihMTR calculations. The IhMT multi-echo Dixon method does not compromise the observable ihMT effect and can potentially be used to remove fat influence in ihMT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2144
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • fat suppression
  • ihMT
  • mDixon
  • myelin imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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