Estimating amounts of iron oxide from gradient echo images

W. Thomas Dixon, Daniel J. Blezek, Lisa A. Lowery, Dan E. Meyer, Amit M. Kulkarni, Brian C. Bales, Danielle L. Petko, Thomas K. Foo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Rat legs directly injected with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) were studied by dual-echo, gradient-echo imaging. The amount of iron injected was estimated using a point dipole model for the SPIO injection site. Saturation magnetization of 6:1 PEG/amino modified silane-coated iron oxide particles with 5- to 6-nm core and 20-25 hydrodynamic diameter was ∼110 emu/g of iron. Estimates of the amount of iron injected made from signal void volumes surrounding SPIO centers yielded erroneous results varying with sample orientation in the scanner and echo time (TE). For example, a 10 μL, 3-μg iron injection produced signal void volumes of 80 and 210 μL at TE of 9.8 and 25 ms, respectively, giving apparent iron contents of 6 ± 1 and 10 ± 2 μg respectively. A more effective approach uses the phase difference between two gradient recalled echo images. To estimate iron content, this approach fits the expected (3 cos2θ - 1)/|r|3 spatial phase distribution to the observed phase differences. Extraneous phase effects made fitting phase at a single TE ineffective. With the dual echo method, 18 independent estimates were 2.48 ± 0.26 μg std, independently of sample orientation. Estimates in empty control regions were -90 and -140 ng. A 1-μg injection indicated 0.5, 1.2, and 1.2 μg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1132-1136
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Iron oxide
  • Quantitative imaging
  • SPIO
  • Superparamagentic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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