Purpose: Isoflurane (ISO) is the most commonly used preclinical inhalation anesthetic. This is a problem in 19F MRI of fluorine contrast agents, as ISO signals cause artifacts that interfere with unambiguous image interpretation and quantification; the two most attractive properties of heteronuclear MRI. We aimed to avoid these artifacts using MRI strategies that can be applied by any pre-clinical researcher. Procedures: Three strategies to avoid ISO chemical shift displacement artifacts (CSDA) in 19F MRI are described and demonstrated with measurements of 19F-containing agents in phantoms and in vivo (n = 3 for all strategies). The success of these strategies is compared to a standard Rapid Acquisition with Relaxation Enhancement (RARE) sequence, with phantom and in vivo validation. ISO artifacts can successfully be avoided by (1) shifting them outside the region of interest using a narrow signal acquisition bandwidth, (2) suppression of ISO by planning a frequency-selective suppression pulse before signal acquisition or by (3) preventing ISO excitation with a 3D sequence with a narrow excitation bandwidth. Results: All three strategies result in complete ISO signal avoidance (p < 0.0001 for all methods). Using a narrow acquisition bandwidth can result in loss of signal to noise ratio and distortion of the image, and a frequency-selective suppression pulse can be incomplete when B1-inhomogeneities are present. Preventing ISO excitation with a narrow excitation pulse in a 3D sequence yields the most robust results (relative SNR 151 ± 28% compared to 2D multislice methods, p = 0.006). Conclusion: We optimized three easily implementable methods to avoid ISO signal artifacts and validated their performance in phantoms and in vivo. We make recommendation on the parameters that pre-clinical studies should report in their method section to make the used approach insightful.
- Chemical shift
- Fluorine-19 Magnetic Resonance Imaging