Macromolecular degeneration and biochemical changes in tissue can be quantified using rotating frame relaxometry in MRI. It has been shown in several studies that the rotating frame longitudinal relaxation rate constant (R1ρ) and the rotating frame transverse relaxation rate constant (R2ρ) are sensitive biomarkers of phenomena at the cellular level. In this comprehensive review, existing MRI methods for probing the biophysical mechanisms that affect the rotating frame relaxation rates of the tissue (i.e. R1ρ and R2ρ) are presented. Long acquisition times and high radiofrequency (RF) energy deposition into tissue during the process of spin-locking in rotating frame relaxometry are the major barriers to the establishment of these relaxation contrasts at high magnetic fields. Therefore, clinical applications of R1ρ and R2ρ MRI using on- or off-resonance RF excitation methods remain challenging. Accordingly, this review describes the theoretical and experimental approaches to the design of hard RF pulse cluster- and adiabatic RF pulse-based excitation schemes for accurate and precise measurements of R1ρ and R2ρ. The merits and drawbacks of different MRI acquisition strategies for quantitative relaxation rate measurement in the rotating frame regime are reviewed. In addition, this review summarizes current clinical applications of rotating frame MRI sequences.
- Adiabatic pulses for T and T relaxation
- Endogenous contrast methods
- MRI sequence design
- Quantitative relaxometry in MRI
- Rotating frame relaxation rate mapping
- Spin-lock MRI
- T MRI