Testing quantitative magnetization transfer models with membrane lipids

Oshrat Shtangel, Aviv A. Mezer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) models aim to quantify the contributions of lipids and macromolecules to the MRI signal. Hence, a model system that relates qMT parameters and their molecular sources may improve the interpretation of the qMT parameters. Here we used membrane lipid phantoms as a meaningful tool to study qMT models. By controlling the fraction and type of membrane lipids, we could test the accuracy, reliability, and interpretability of different qMT models. Methods: We formulated liposomes with various lipid types and water-to-lipids fractions and measured their signals with spoiled gradient-echo MT. We fitted three known qMT models and estimated six parameters for every model. We tested the accuracy and reproducibility of the models and compared the dependency among the qMT parameters. We compared the samples' qMT parameters with their water-to-lipid fractions and with a simple MTnorm (= MTon/MToff) calculation. Results: We found that the three qMT models fit the membrane lipids signals well. We also found that the estimated qMT parameters are highly interdependent. Interestingly, the estimated qMT parameters are a function of the membrane lipid type and also highly related to the water-to-lipid fraction. Finally, we find that most of the lipid sample's information can be captured using the common and easy to estimate MTnorm analysis. Conclusion: qMT parameters are sensitive to both the water-to-lipid fraction and to the lipid type. Estimating the water-to-lipid fraction can improve the characterization of membrane lipids' contributions to qMT parameters. Similar characterizations can be obtained using the MTnorm analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.


  • liposome
  • membrane lipids
  • MRI
  • qMT
  • WF


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