Purpose: Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) NMR or MRI experiments allow detection of low concentrated molecules with enhanced sensitivity via their proton exchange with the abundant water pool. Be it endogenous metabolites or exogenous contrast agents, an exact quantification of the actual exchange rate is required to design optimal pulse sequences and/or specific sensitive agents. Methods: Refined analytical expressions allow deeper insight and improvement of accuracy for common quantification techniques. The accuracy of standard quantification methodologies, such as quantification of exchange rate using varying saturation power or varying saturation time, is improved especially for the case of nonequilibrium initial conditions and weak labeling conditions, meaning the saturation amplitude is smaller than the exchange rate (γB1 < k). Results: The improved analytical ‘quantification of exchange rate using varying saturation power/time’ (QUESP/QUEST) equations allow for more accurate exchange rate determination, and provide clear insights on the general principles to execute the experiments and to perform numerical evaluation. The proposed methodology was evaluated on the large-shift regime of paramagnetic chemical-exchange-saturation-transfer agents using simulated data and data of the paramagnetic Eu(III) complex of DOTA-tetraglycineamide. Conclusions: The refined formulas yield improved exchange rate estimation. General convergence intervals of the methods that would apply for smaller shift agents are also discussed. Magn Reson Med 79:1708–1721, 2018.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging