Background suppression in arterial spin labeling MRI with a separate neck labeling coil

Qiang Shen, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI to measure cerebral blood flow (CBF), pair-wise subtraction of temporally adjacent non-labeled and labeled images often can not completely cancel the background static tissue signal because of temporally fluctuating physiological noise. While background suppression (BS) by inversion nulling improves CBF temporal stability, imperfect pulses compromise CBF contrast. Conventional BS techniques may not be applicable in small animals because the arterial transit time is short. This study presents a novel approach of BS to overcome these drawbacks using a separate 'neck' radiofrequency coil for ASL and a 'brain' radiofrequency coil for BS with the inversion pulse placed before spin labeling. The use of a separate 'neck' coil for ASL should also improve ASL contrast. This approach is referred to as the inversion-recovery BS with the two-coil continuous ASL (IR-cASL) technique. The temporal and spatial contrast-to-noise characteristics of basal CBF and CBF-based fMRI of hypercapnia and forepaw stimulation in rats at 7 Tesla were analyzed. IR-cASL yielded two times better temporal stability and 2.0-2.3 times higher functional contrast-to-noise ratios for hypercapnia and forepaw stimulation compared with cASL without BS in the same animals. The Bloch equations were modified to provide accurate CBF quantification at different levels of BS and for multislice acquisition where different slices have different degree of BS and residual degree of labeling. Improved basal CBF and CBF-based fMRI sensitivity should lead to more accurate CBF quantification and should prove useful for imaging low CBF conditions such as in white matter and stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cerebral perfusion
  • High fields
  • Inversion recovery
  • Rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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