Three-compartment T1 relaxation model for intracellular paramagnetic contrast agents

Gustav J. Strijkers, Sjoerd Hak, Maarten B. Kok, Charles S. Springer, Klaas Nicolay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The goal of this work was to elaborate a model describing the effective longitudinal relaxation rate constant R1 for 1H 2O in three cellular compartments experiencing possible equilibrium water exchange, and to apply this model to explain the effective R1 dependence on the overall concentration of a cell-internalized Gd 3+-based contrast agent (CA). The model voxel comprises three compartments representing extracellular, cytoplasmic, and vesicular (e.g., endosomal, lysosomal) subcellular spaces. Relaxation parameters were simulated using a modified Bloch-McConnell equation including magnetization exchange between the three compartments. With the model, several possible scenarios for internalized CA distribution were evaluated. Relaxation parameters were calculated for contrast agent restricted to the cytoplasmic or vesicular compartments. The size or the number of CA-loaded vesicles was varied. The simulated data were then separately fitted with empirical monoand biexponential inversion recovery expressions. The voxel CA-concentration dependencies of R1 can be used to qualitatively and quantitatively understand a number of different experimental observations reported in the literature. Most important, the simulations reproduced the relaxivity "quenching" for cell-internalized contrast agent that has been observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1058
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Bloch-McConnell
  • Contrast agent
  • Exchange
  • Gadolinium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Relaxation rate constant
  • Relaxivity
  • Shutter-speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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