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T1 and T2-mapping in pancreatic MRI: Current evidence and future perspectives.

Conventional T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas can vary significantly due to factors such as scanner differences and pulse sequence variations. This review explores T1 and T2 mapping techniques, modern MRI methods providing quantitative information about tissue relaxation times. Various T1 and T2 mapping pulse sequences are currently under investigation. Clinical and research applications of T1 and T2 mapping in the pancreas include their correlation with fibrosis, inflammation, and neoplasms. In chronic pancreatitis, T1 mapping and extracellular volume (ECV) quantification demonstrate potential as biomarkers, aiding in early diagnosis and classification. T1 mapping also shows promise in evaluating pancreatic exocrine function and detecting glucose metabolism disorders. T2* mapping is valuable in quantifying pancreatic iron, offering insights into conditions like thalassemia major. However, challenges persist, such as the lack of consensus on optimal sequences and normal values for healthy pancreas relaxometry. Large-scale studies are needed for validation, and improvements in mapping sequences are essential for widespread clinical integration. The future holds potential for mixed qualitative and quantitative models, extending the applications of relaxometry techniques to various pancreatic lesions and enhancing routine MRI protocols for pancreatic pathology diagnosis and prognosis.

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