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High Resolution MRI of the Brainstem at 8 T

Novak, Peter; Novak, Vera; Kangarlu, Allahyar; Abduljalil, Amir M.; Chakeres, Donald W.; Robitaille, Pierre-Marie

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: March-April 2001 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 242-246

A recently developed ultra high field MRI system operating at 8 T (UHFMRI) was applied for brainstem imaging. UHFMRI was performed in five healthy volunteers (three men, two women; age range 34–46 years). Sagittal and axial slices were obtained with the following settings: GE, TR 750–1,000 ms, TE 7–9 ms, FOV 20 cm, matrix 1,024 × 1,024 or 512 × 512 points, slice thickness 2 mm, resolution 195 or 390 μm/pixel. The brainstem structures were assigned based on anatomy and course. Images with good signal strength and homogeneity were acquired from the midbrain and the pons. Main intraaxial structures could be directly visualized. The periaqueductal gray matter and nuclei had higher signal intensity than the predominantly white matter structures such as the corticobulbar/corticopontine/corticospinal tracts, the sensory lemnisci, and the medial longitudinal fasciculus. Structures with high iron content such as the substantia nigra and the red nucleus were seen as prominent signal hypointensities. Numerous vessels traversing the brainstem including small perforators were also distinguished. It is concluded that UHFMRI enables the acquisition of high quality images of the upper brainstem with details approaching that of histologic specimen.

From the Departments of Neurology (P. Novak and V. Novak) and Radiology (A. Kangarlu, A. M. Abduljalil, D. W. Chakeres, and P.-M. Robitaille), Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. V. Novak at Department of Neurology, 1654 Upham Dr., 408 Means Hall, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, U.S.A. E-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.