NMR relaxation of protons in tissues and other macromolecular water solutions

Gary D. Fullerton, Janet L. Potter, N. Carol Dornbluth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) longitudinal (T1) and transverse (T2) relaxation parameters have been evaluated for protein solutions, cellular suspensions and tissues using both data from our laboratory and the extensive literature. It is found that this data can be generalized and explained in terms of three water phases: free water, hydration water, and crystalline water. The proposed model which we refer to as the FPD model differs from similar models in that it assumes that free and hydration water are two phases with distinct relaxation times but that T1 = T2 in each phase. In addition there is a single correlation time for each rather than a distribution as assumed in most other models. Longitudinal decay is predicted to be single exponent in character resulting from a fast exchange between the free and hydration compartments. Transverse decay is predicted to be multiphasic with crystalline (T2 ∼ 10 μsec), hydration (T2 ∼ 10 sec) and free (T2 ∼ 100 sec) water normally visible. The observed or effective transverse relaxation times for both the hydration and free water phases are greatly affected by the crystalline phase and are much shorter than the inherent relaxation times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-226
Number of pages18
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982


  • Longitudinal decay
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  • Protein solutions
  • Protons
  • T
  • Tissue characteristics
  • Transverse decay
  • Water relaxation times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomedical Engineering


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