High-resolution cerebral blood volume imaging in humans using the blood pool contrast agent ferumoxytol

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Cerebral blood volume maps are usually acquired using dynamic susceptibility contrast imaging which inherently limits the spatial resolution and signal to noise ratio of the images. In this study, we used ferumoxytol (AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA), an FDA-approved compound, to obtain high-resolution cerebral blood volume maps with a steady-state approach in seven healthy volunteers. Symbol maps (0.8 × 0.8 × 1 mm3) were acquired before and after injection of ferumoxytol and an intraindividual normalization protocol was used to obtain quantitative values. The results show excellent contrast between white and gray matter as well as fine highly detailed vascular structures. An average blood volume of 4% was found in the brain of all volunteers, consistent with prior literature values. A linear relationship was found between ferumoxytol dose (mg/kg) and Symbol (1/s) in gray (R2 = 0.98) and white matter (R2 = 0.98). A quadratic relationship was found in the sagittal sinus (R2 = 0.98). The cerebral blood volume maps compare well with lower resolution dynamic susceptibility contrast-MRI and their use should improve the evaluation of small and heterogeneous lesions and facilitate intrapatient and interpatient comparisons.

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