Layer-specific functional and anatomical MRI of the retina with passband balanced SSFP

Eric R. Muir, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The retina consists of multiple cellular and synaptic layers and is nourished by two distinct (retinal and choroidal) circulations bounding the retina, separated by an avascular layer. High spatiotemporal resolution, layer-specific MRI of the retina remains challenging due to magnetic inhomogeneity-induced artifacts. This study reports passband balanced steady-state free-precession (bSSFP) MRI at 45× 45× 500 μm and 1.6 s temporal resolution to image the mouse retina, overcoming geometric distortion and signal dropout while maintaining rapid acquisition and high signal-to-noise ratio. bSSFP images revealed multiple alternating dark-bright-dark-bright retinal layers. Hypoxic (10% O2) inhalation decreased bSSFP signals in the two layers bounding the retina, corresponding to the retinal and choroidal vasculatures. The layer in between showed no substantial response and was assigned the avascular photoreceptor layers. Choroidal responses (-25.9±6.4%, mean±SD, n=6) were significantly (P<0.05) larger than retinal vascular responses (-11.6±2.4%). bSSFP offers very high spatiotemporal resolution and could have important applications in imaging layer-specific changes in retinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1416-1421
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • SSFP
  • fMRI
  • hypoxia
  • ophthalmology
  • retina
  • steady state free precession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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