Echo-time dependency of quantitative susceptibility mapping reproducibility at different magnetic field strengths

Marta Lancione, Graziella Donatelli, Paolo Cecchi, Mirco Cosottini, Michela Tosetti, Mauro Costagli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) provides a way of measuring iron concentration and myelination non-invasively and has the potential of becoming a tool of paramount importance in the study of a host of different pathologies. However, several experimental factors and the physical properties of magnetic susceptibility (χ) can impair the reliability of QSM, and it is therefore essential to assess QSM reproducibility for repeated acquisitions and different field strength. In particular, it has recently been demonstrated that QSM measurements strongly depend on echo time (TE): the same tissue, measured on the same scanner, exhibits different apparent frequency shifts depending on the TE used. This study aims to assess the influence of TE on intra-scanner and inter-scanner reproducibility of QSM, by using MRI systems operating at 3T and 7T. To maximize intra-scanner reproducibility it is necessary to match the TEs of the acquisition protocol, but the application of this rule leads to inconsistent QSM values across scanners operating at different static magnetic field. This study however demonstrates that, provided a careful choice of acquisition parameters, and in particular by using TEs at 3T that are approximately 2.6 times longer than those at 7T, highly reproducible whole-brain χ maps can be achieved also across different scanners, which renders QSM a suitable technique for longitudinal follow-up in clinical settings and in multi-center studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019


  • High-field MRI
  • Multi-center
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping
  • Reproducibility
  • Ultra-high field MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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