Magnetic resonance imaging of brain iron in health and disease

Josef Vymazal, Rodney A. Brooks, Nicholas Patronas, Milan Hajek, Jeff W.M. Bulte, Giovanni Di Chiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Brain iron is a major contributor to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast in normal gray matter, and its role in the pathogenesis of different neurological disorders has also become apparent. Non-heme brain iron is present in the brain mainly in the form of ferritin. The unique magnetic properties of ferritin determine different signal changes on both T1- and T2-weighted images, and the T2 relaxation rates have a linear dependence on applied field strength. This finding is typical for ferric oxyhydroxide cores. The resulting T2-shortening also depends on echo-spacing used in the imaging sequence as well as on the water diffusion coefficient and the size of the ferritin cluster. Quantitation of non-heme brain iron by MRI aids in the diagnosis and monitoring of different neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain iron
  • Diffusion
  • Hallervorden-Spatz disease
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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