We investigate the utility of radiofrequency (RF) parallel transmission (pTx) for whole-brain resting-state functional MRI (rfMRI) acquisition at 7 Tesla (7T). To this end, Human Connectome Project (HCP)-style data acquisitions were chosen as a showcase example. Five healthy subjects were scanned in pTx and single-channel transmit (1Tx) modes. The pTx data were acquired using a prototype 16-channel transmit system and a commercially available Nova 8-channel transmit 32-channel receive RF head coil. Additionally, pTx single-spoke multiband (MB) pulses were designed to image sagittal slices. HCP-style 7T rfMRI data (1.6-mm isotropic resolution, 5-fold slice and 2-fold in-plane acceleration, 3600 image volumes and ∼ 1-h scan) were acquired with pTx and the results were compared to those acquired with the original 7T HCP rfMRI protocol. The use of pTx significantly improved flip-angle uniformity across the brain, with coefficient of variation (i.e., std/mean) of whole-brain flip-angle distribution reduced on average by ∼39%. This in turn yielded ∼17% increase in group temporal SNR (tSNR) as averaged across the entire brain and ∼10% increase in group functional contrast-to-noise ratio (fCNR) as averaged across the grayordinate space (including cortical surfaces and subcortical voxels). Furthermore, when placing a seed in either the posterior parietal lobe or putamen to estimate seed-based dense connectome, the increase in fCNR was observed to translate into stronger correlation of the seed with the rest of the grayordinate space. We have demonstrated the utility of pTx for slice-accelerated high-resolution whole-brain rfMRI at 7T; as compared to current state-of-the-art, the use of pTx improves flip-angle uniformity, increases tSNR, enhances fCNR and strengthens functional connectivity estimation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Brian Hanna and John Strupp for setting up the necessary computation resources. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants U01 EB025144 , P41 EB015894 and P30 NS076408 , and in part by the Human Connectome Project ( 1U54MH091657 ) from the 16 NIH Institutes and Centers that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research .
- Functional MRI
- High field MRI
- Human connectome project
- Parallel transmission
- Simultaneous multi-slice