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PURPOSE: The delay alternating with nutation for tailored excitation (DANTE)-sampling perfection with application-optimized contrasts (SPACE) sequence facilitates 3D intracranial vessel wall imaging with simultaneous suppression of blood and CSF. However, the achieved image contrast depends closely on the selected sequence parameters, and the clinical use of the sequence is limited in vivo by observed signal variations in the vessel wall, CSF, and blood. This paper introduces a comprehensive DANTE-SPACE simulation framework, with the aim of providing a better understanding of the underlying contrast mechanisms and facilitating improved parameter selection and contrast optimization. METHODS: An extended phase graph formalism was developed for efficient spin ensemble simulation of the DANTE-SPACE sequence. Physiological processes such as pulsatile flow velocity variation, varying flow directions, intravoxel velocity variation, diffusion, and B 1 + $$ {\mathrm{B}}_1^{+} $$ effects were included in the framework to represent the mechanisms behind the achieved signal levels accurately. RESULTS: Intravoxel velocity variation improved temporal stability and robustness against small velocity changes. Time-varying pulsatile velocity variation affected CSF simulations, introducing periods of near-zero velocity and partial rephasing. Inclusion of diffusion effects was found to substantially reduce the CSF signal. Blood flow trajectory variations had minor effects, but B 1 + $$ {\mathrm{B}}_1^{+} $$ differences along the trajectory reduced DANTE efficiency in low- B 1 + $$ {\mathrm{B}}_1^{+} $$ areas. Introducing low-velocity pulsatility of both CSF and vessel wall helped explain the in vivo observed signal heterogeneity in both tissue types. CONCLUSION: The presented simulation framework facilitates a more comprehensive optimization of DANTE-SPACE sequence parameters. Furthermore, the simulation framework helps to explain observed contrasts in acquired data.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date



DANTE-SPACE, MRI, extended phase graph, vessel wall imaging