[PUBLICATION] Normal volumetric and T1 relaxation time values at 1.5 T in segmented pediatric brain MRI using a MP2RAGE acquisition

Pediatric brain MRI
Pediatric brain MRI

on the September 8, 2020

Published in Eur Radiol

Collaborative research project led by Prof. T. Kober (Department of Radiology, Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland) in which Profs. Cottier and Destrieux, and Drs. Morel and Tauber participated.

Normal volumetric and T1 relaxation time values at 1.5 T in segmented pediatric brain MRI using a MP2RAGE acquisition


Objectives: This study introduced a tailored MP2RAGE-based brain acquisition for a comprehensive assessment of the normal maturing brain.

Methods: Seventy normal patients (35 girls and 35 boys) from 1 to 16 years of age were recruited within a prospective monocentric study conducted from a single University Hospital. Brain MRI examinations were performed at 1.5 T using a 20-channel head coil and an optimized 3D MP2RAGE sequence with a total acquisition time of 6:36 min. Automated 38 region segmentation was performed using the MorphoBox (template registration, bias field correction, brain extraction, and tissue classification) which underwent a major adaptation of three age-group T1-weighted templates. Volumetry and T1 relaxometry reference ranges were established using a logarithmic model and a modified Gompertz growth respectively.

Results: Detailed automated brain segmentation and T1 mapping were successful in all patients. Using these data, an age-dependent model of normal brain maturation with respect to changes in volume and T1 relaxometry was established. After an initial rapid increase until 24 months of life, the total intracranial volume was found to converge towards 1400 mL during adolescence. The expected volumes of white matter (WM) and cortical gray matter (GM) showed a similar trend with age. After an initial major decrease, T1 relaxation times were observed to decrease progressively in all brain structures. The T1 drop in the first year of life was more pronounced in WM (from 1000-1100 to 650-700 ms) than in GM structures.

Conclusion: The 3D MP2RAGE sequence allowed to establish brain volume and T1 relaxation time normative ranges in pediatrics.

Key points

  • The 3D MP2RAGE sequence provided a reliable quantitative assessment of brain volumes and T1 relaxation times during childhood.
  • An age-dependent model of normal brain maturation was established.
  • The normative ranges enable an objective comparison to a normal cohort, which can be useful to further understand, describe, and identify neurodevelopmental disorders in children.


Gray matter; Neurodevelopmental disorders; Pediatrics; Reference values; White matter.
Contact :
Dr. Baptiste Morel :