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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00854

Inter-vendor reproducibility of myelin water imaging using a 3D gradient and spin echo sequence

 Lisa Eunyoung Lee1,  Emil Ljungberg1, 2, Dongmyung Shin3,  Chase R. Figley4, Irene M. Vavasour5,  Alexander Rauscher5, 6, 7, Julien Cohen-Adad8, 9, David K. Li5, Anthony L. Traboulsee1,  Alex L. MacKay5, 7, Jongho Lee3 and  Shannon H. Kolind1, 5, 7*
  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 2Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Seoul National University, South Korea
  • 4Department of Radiology, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • 5Department of Radiology, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 6Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 7Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 8NeuroImaging Research Laboratory at Polytechnique (NeuroPoly), Canada
  • 9Functional Neuroimaging Unit, Montreal University, Canada

Myelin water imaging can be achieved using multicomponent T2 relaxation analysis to quantify in vivo measurement of myelin content, termed the myelin water fraction (MWF). Therefore, myelin water imaging can be a valuable tool to better understand the underlying white matter pathology in demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. To apply myelin water imaging in multisite studies and clinical applications, it must be acquired in a clinically feasible scan time (less than 15 minutes) and be reproducible across sites and scanner vendors. Here, we assessed the reproducibility of MWF measurements in regional and global white matter in 10 healthy human brains across two sites with two different 3 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner vendors (Philips and Siemens), using a 32-echo gradient and spin echo (GRASE) sequence. A strong correlation was found between the MWF measurements in the global white matter (Pearson’s r = 0.91; p < 0.001) for all participants across the two sites. The mean intersite MWF coefficient of variation across participants was 2.77 % in the global white matter and ranged from 4.47 % (splenium of the corpus callosum) to 17.89 % (genu of the corpus callosum) in white matter regions of interest. Bland-Altman analysis showed a good agreement in MWF measurements between the two sites with small bias of 0.002. Overall, MWF estimates were in good agreement across the two sites and scanner vendors. Our findings support the use of quantitative multi-echo T2 relaxation metrics, such as the MWF, in multicenter studies and clinical trials to gain deeper understanding about the pathological processes resulting from the underlying disease progression in neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Myelin water imaging, GRASE, reproducibility, quantitative imaging, multisite, Multivendor, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Received: 02 Aug 2018; Accepted: 01 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Andrew L. Alexander, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States

Reviewed by:

Steffen Bollmann, The University of Queensland, Australia
Eva Alonso Ortiz, Ottawa Hospital, Canada  

Copyright: © 2018 Lee, Ljungberg, Shin, Figley, Vavasour, Rauscher, Cohen-Adad, Li, Traboulsee, MacKay, Lee and Kolind. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Shannon H. Kolind, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, British Columbia, Canada,