Measurements of spin-lock relaxation rates in the rotating frame (R1ρ ) at high magnetic fields afford the ability to probe not only relatively slow molecular motions, but also other dynamic processes, such as chemical exchange and diffusion. In particular, measurements of the variation (or dispersion) of R1ρ with locking field allow the derivation of quantitative parameters that describe these processes. Measurements in deuterated solutions demonstrate the manner and degree to which exchange dominates relaxation at high fields (4.7 T, 7 T) in simple solutions, whereas temperature and pH are shown to be very influential factors affecting the rates of proton exchange. Simulations and experiments show that multiple exchanging pools of protons in realistic tissues can be assumed to behave independently of each other. R1ρ measurements can be combined to derive an exchange rate contrast (ERC) that produces images whose intensities emphasize protons with specific exchange rates rather than chemical shifts. In addition, water diffusion in the presence of intrinsic susceptibility gradients may produce significant effects on R1ρ dispersions at high fields. The exchange and diffusion effects act independently of each other, as confirmed by simulation and experimentally in studies of red blood cells at different levels of oxygenation. Collectively, R1ρ measurements provide an ability to quantify exchange processes, to provide images that depict protons with specific exchange rates and to describe the microstructure of tissues containing magnetic inhomogeneities. As such, they complement traditional T1 or T2 measurements and provide additional insights from measurements of R1ρ at a single locking field. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.