Quantum dipole interactions and transient hydrogen bond orientation order in cells, cellular membranes and myelin sheath: Implications for MRI signal relaxation, anisotropy, and T1 magnetic field dependence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Despite significant impact on the study of human brain, MRI lacks a theory of signal formation that integrates quantum interactions involving proton dipoles (a primary MRI signal source) with brain intricate cellular environment. The purpose of the present study is developing such a theory. Methods: We introduce the Transient Hydrogen Bond (THB) model, where THB-mediated quantum dipole interactions between water and protons of hydrophilic heads of amphipathic biomolecules forming cells, cellular membranes and myelin sheath serve as a major source of MR signal relaxation. Results: The THB theory predicts the existence of a hydrogen-bond-driven structural order of dipole–dipole connections within THBs as a primary factor for the anisotropy observed in MRI signal relaxation. We have also demonstrated that the conventional Lorentzian spectral density function decreases too fast at high frequencies to adequately capture the field dependence of brain MRI signal relaxation. To bridge this gap, we introduced a stretched spectral density function that surpasses the limitations of Lorentzian dispersion. In human brain, our findings reveal that at any time point only about 4% to 7% of water protons are engaged in quantum encounters within THBs. These ultra-short (2 to 3 ns), but frequent quantum spin exchanges lead to gradual recovery of magnetization toward thermodynamic equilibrium, that is, relaxation of MRI signal. Conclusion: By incorporating quantum proton interactions involved in brain imaging, the THB approach introduces new insights on the complex relationship between brain tissue cellular structure and MRI measurements, thus offering a promising new tool for better understanding of brain microstructure in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2611
Number of pages15
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Volume91
Issue number6
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • MRI signal relaxation
  • brain microstructure
  • hydrogen bonds
  • myelin
  • quantum dipole interactions

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