Xing, Y., et al., Optimal variable flip angle schemes for dynamic acquisition of exchanging hyperpolarized substrates. J. Magn. Reson., 2013. 234(0): p. 75-81.
In metabolic MRI with hyperpolarized contrast agents, the signal levels vary over time due to T1 decay, T2 decay following RF excitations, and metabolic conversion. Efficient usage of the nonrenewable hyperpolarized magnetization requires specialized RF pulse schemes. In this work, we introduce two novel variable flip angle schemes for dynamic hyperpolarized MRI in which the flip angle is varied between excitations and between metabolites. These were optimized to distribute the magnetization relatively evenly throughout the acquisition by accounting for T1 decay, prior RF excitations, and metabolic conversion. Simulation results are presented to confirm the flip angle designs and evaluate the variability of signal dynamics across typical ranges of T1 and metabolic conversion. They were implemented using multiband spectral-spatial RF pulses to independently modulate the flip angle at various chemical shift frequencies. With these schemes we observed increased SNR of [1-(13)C]lactate generated from [1-(13)C]pyruvate, particularly at later time points. This will allow for improved characterization of tissue perfusion and metabolic profiles in dynamic hyperpolarized MRI.