T1-weighted fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery sequence (T1-FFLAIR) enables the visualization and quantification of fetal brain myelination in utero

Ruxandra-Iulia Milos, Victor Schmidbauer, Martin L Watzenboeck, Friedrich Stuhr, Gerlinde Maria Gruber, Christian Mitter, Gregor O Dovjak, Marija Milković-Periša, Ivica Kostovic, Nataša Jovanov-Milošević, Gregor Kasprian, Daniela Prayer

Publikation: Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift (peer-reviewed)Artikel in Fachzeitschrift

1 Zitat (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the advantage of T1-weighted fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery MRI sequence without (T1-FFLAIR) and with compressed sensing technology (T1-FFLAIR-CS), which shows improved T1-weighted contrast, over standard used T1-weighted fast field echo (T1-FFE) sequence for the assessment of fetal myelination.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective single-center study included 115 consecutive fetal brain MRI examinations (63 axial and 76 coronal, mean gestational age (GA) 28.56 ± 5.23 weeks, range 19-39 weeks). Two raters, blinded to GA, qualitatively assessed a fetal myelin total score (MTS) on each T1-weighted sequence at five brain regions (medulla oblongata, pons, mesencephalon, thalamus, central region). One rater performed region-of-interest quantitative analysis (n = 61) at the same five brain regions. Pearson correlation analysis was applied for correlation of MTS and of the signal intensity ratios (relative to muscle) with GA on each T1-weighted sequence. Fetal MRI-based results were compared with myelination patterns of postmortem fetal human brains (n = 46; GA 18 to 42), processed by histological and immunohistochemical analysis.

RESULTS: MTS positively correlated with GA on all three sequences (all r between 0.802 and 0.908). The signal intensity ratios measured at the five brain regions correlated best with GA on T1-FFLAIR (r between 0.583 and 0.785). T1-FFLAIR demonstrated significantly better correlations with GA than T1-FFE for both qualitative and quantitative analysis (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, T1-FFLAIR enabled the best visualization of myelinated brain structures when compared to histology.

CONCLUSION: T1-FFLAIR outperforms the standard T1-FFE sequence in the visualization of fetal brain myelination, as demonstrated by qualitative and quantitative methods.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: T1-weighted fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery sequence (T1-FFLAIR) provided best visualization and quantification of myelination in utero that, in addition to the relatively short acquisition time, makes feasible its routine application in fetal MRI for the assessment of brain myelination.

KEY POINTS: • So far, the assessment of fetal myelination in utero was limited due to the insufficient contrast. • T1-weighted fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery sequence allows a qualitative and quantitative assessment of fetal brain myelination. • T1-weighted fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery sequence outperforms the standard used T1-weighted sequence for visualization and quantification of myelination in utero.

OriginalspracheEnglisch
FachzeitschriftEuropean Radiology
Frühes Online-Datum29 Nov. 2023
DOIs
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 29 Nov. 2023

ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete

  • Radiologie, Nuklearmedizin und Bildgebung

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