Multicenter R2* mapping in the healthy brain

Stefan Ropele, Mike P. Wattjes, Christian Langkammer, Iris D. Kilsdonk, Wolter L. De Graaf, Jette L. Frederiksen, Dan Fuglø, Marios Yiannakas, Claudia A M Wheeler-Kingshott, Christian Enzinger, Maria A. Rocca, Till Sprenger, Michael Amman, Ludwig Kappos, Massimo Filippi, Alex Rovira, Olga Ciccarelli, Frederik Barkhof, Franz Fazekas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The R2* relaxation rate constant has been suggested as a sensitive measure for iron accumulation. The aim of this multi-center study was to assess the inter-scanner and inter-subject variability of R2* mapping and to investigate the relationship between brain volume and R2* in specific structures. Methods R 2* mapping was performed in 81 healthy subjects in seven centers using different 3 T systems. R2* was calculated from a dual-echo gradient echo sequence and was assessed in several deep gray matter structures. The inter-scanner and inter-subject variability of R 2* was calculated by means of the coefficient of variation before and after correcting for age. Results Significant center effects were seen in some regions which get lost after age correction. The coefficient of variation for the inter-center variability was much lower (2* in the putamen and red nucleus scaled with cortical volume while R2* in the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra was negatively associated with white matter volume. Conclusion R2* is a robust and reproducible measure in a multicenter setting provided that a standardized MRI protocol is used. The relationship between iron concentration in deep gray matter and volume of specific brain compartments needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1107
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • brain
  • deep gray matter
  • iron
  • multicenter
  • R*
  • susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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