Quantified T1 as an adjunct to apparent diffusion coefficient for early infarct detection: a high-field magnetic resonance study in a rat stroke model

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Abstract

Background

Thrombolytic treatment for acute stroke has focused attention on accurate identification of injured vs. salvageable brain tissue, particularly if reperfusion occurs. However, our knowledge of differences in acute magnetic resonance imaging changes between transient and permanent ischemia and how they reflect permanently damaged tissue remain incomplete.

Aims and/or hypothesis

Magnetic resonance imaging characteristics vary widely following ischemia and, at acute times, T1, T2 or apparent diffusion coefficient quantification may differentiate viable tissue from that destined to infarct.

Methods

High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging was performed at 9·4 T following permanent or transient (90 min) middle cerebral artery occlusion in spontaneously hypertensive male rats or Wistar rats. Within 30 min, quantified maps of the apparent diffusion coefficient, T1, and T2 were performed and measures determined for sequences in the infarct and compared with that in the contralateral region. Lesion area for each magnetic resonance imaging sequence (T1, T2, apparent diffusion coefficient, and perfusion maps) was delineated for different time points using quantitative threshold measures and compared with final histological damage.

Results

Early extensive changes in T1 following both transient and permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion provided a sensitive early indicator of the final infarct area. Following reperfusion, small but measurable early T2 changes indicative of early development of vasogenic edema occurred in the transient but not permanent groups. In transient middle cerebral artery occlusion, at 70 min apparent diffusion coefficient decreased (P<0·001) and then pseudonormalized at 150 min. In permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion, apparent diffusion coefficient declined over time. Lesion area detected using T1 maps exceeded that with T2 and apparent diffusion coefficient at 70 and 150 min in both groups (P<0·001).

Conclusions

The results indicate that, independent of reperfusion, quantified T1 is superior for detecting early ischemic changes that are not necessarily detected with T2 or apparent diffusion coefficient.

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