Purpose: Establishment of regional longitudinal (T1) and transverse (T2) relaxation times in awake pigeons and rats at 7T field strength. Regional differences in relaxation times between species and between two different pigeon breeds (homing pigeons and Figurita pigeons) were investigated. Methods: T1 and T2 relaxation times were determined for nine functionally equivalent brain regions in awake pigeons and rats using a multiple spin-echo saturation recovery method with variable repetition time and a multi-slice/multi-echo sequence, respectively. Optimized head fixation and habituation protocols were applied to accustom animals to the scanning conditions and to minimize movement. Results: The habituation protocol successfully limited movement of the awake animals to a negligible minimum, allowing reliable measurement of T1 and T2 values within all regions of interest. Significant differences in relaxation times were found between rats and pigeons but not between different pigeon breeds. Conclusion: The obtained T1 and T2 values for awake pigeons and rats and the optimized habituation protocol will augment future MRI studies with awake animals. The differences in relaxation times observed between species underline the importance of the acquisition of T1/T2 values as reference points for specific experiments. Magn Reson Med 79:1090–1100, 2018.
- longitudinal relaxation time
- transverse relaxation time
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging