Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Measurement of tissue characteristics such as the longitudinal relaxation time (T1) provides complementary information to the volumetric and surface based structural analyses. We aimed to investigate T1 relaxation time characteristics in healthy aging via an exploratory design in the whole brain. The data processing pipeline was designed to minimize errors related to aging effects such as atrophy. Materials and methods: Sixty healthy participants underwent MRI scanning (28 F, 32 M, age range: 18-78, 30 young and 30 old) in November 2017-March 2018 at the Bilkent University UMRAM Center. Four images with varying flip angles with FLASH (fast low angle shot magnetic resonance imaging) sequence and a high-resolution structural image with MP-RAGE (Magnetization Prepared - RApid Gradient Echo) were acquired. T1 relaxation times of the entire brain were mapped by using the region of interest (ROI) based method on 134 brain areas in young and old populations. Results: T1 prolongation was observed in various subcortical (bilateral hippocampus, caudate and thalamus) and cortical brain structures (bilateral precentral gyrus, bilateral middle frontal gyrus, bilateral supplementary motor area (SMA), left middle occipital gyrus, bilateral postcentral gyrus and bilateral Heschl's gyrus) as well as cerebellar regions (GM regions of cerebellum: bilateral cerebellum III, cerebellum IV V, cerebellum X, cerebellar vermis u 4 5, cerebellar vermis u 9 and WM cerebellar regions: left cerebellum IX, bilateral cerebellum X and cerebellar vermis u 4 5). Conclusion: T1 mapping provides a practical quantitative MRI (qMRI) methodology for studying the tissue characteristics in healthy aging. T1 values are significantly increased in the aging group among half of the studied ROIs (57 ROIs out of 134).


T1 mapping, healthy aging, brain, quantitative MRI

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