Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) is a technique for mapping the physical properties of the underlying tissue using several MR images with different contrasts. To overcome subject motion between the acquired images, it is necessary to register the images to a common reference frame. A drawback of registration is the use of interpolation and resampling techniques, which can introduce artifacts into the interpolated data. These artifacts could have unfavorable effects on the accuracy of the estimated tissue's physical properties. Here, we quantified the error of interpolation and resampling on T1-weighted images and studied its effects on the mapping of the longitudinal relaxation time (T1) using variable flip angles. We simulated T1-weighted images and calculated the transformation error resulting from interpolation and resampling. We found that the error is a function of the image contrast (i.e., flip angle) and of the translation and rotation of the image. Furthermore, we found that the error in the T1-weighted images has a substantial effect on the T1 estimation, of the order of 10% of the signal in the brain's gray and white matter. Hence, minimizing the registration error can enable more accurate in vivo modeling of brain microstructure.
Year of publication
Medical Image Analysis, Volume 52, February 2019, Pages 119-127