In Vitro Assessment of Histology Verified Intracranial Atherosclerotic Disease by 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Concentric or Eccentric?

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Background and Purpose—

Clinical trial studies show that plaque eccentricity (symmetry) is among the plaque features that have been associated with more frequent cerebrovascular events. Plaque eccentricity of intracranial atherosclerotic disease is unclear because of lacking of cerebral artery specimens.


1.5T magnetic resonance imaging was performed in the postmortem brains to scan the cross sections of middle cerebral artery. Plaque eccentricity of histology-verified middle cerebral artery atherosclerosis was calculated on T1-weighted fat-suppressed sequence.


Validated by histology, concentric atherosclerotic plaques were identified in 46 middle cerebral arteries (63.9%) on magnetic resonance imaging and eccentric plaques in 26 arteries (26.1%). Eccentric plaques showed higher maximum wall thickness and lower minimum wall thickness than concentric plaques (both P<0.001). Plaque burden and brain infarctions were similar between concentric and eccentric plaques.


Intracranial atherosclerosis presents as eccentric or concentric in geometry, which may be not linked to intracranial plaque risk. Further in vivo imaging studies are needed to identify morphological features of intracranial plaques and to verify its association with brain infarctions.

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