MTT and Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption within Asymptomatic Vascular WM Lesions

B E Dewey, X Xu, L Knutsson, A Jog, J L Prince, P B Barker, P C M van Zijl, R Leigh, P Nyquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: White matter lesions of presumed ischemic origin are associated with progressive cognitive impairment and impaired BBB function. Studying the longitudinal effects of white matter lesion biomarkers that measure changes in perfusion and BBB patency within white matter lesions is required for long-term studies of lesion progression. We studied perfusion and BBB disruption within white matter lesions in asymptomatic subjects.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Anatomic imaging was followed by consecutive dynamic contrast-enhanced and DSC imaging. White matter lesions in 21 asymptomatic individuals were determined using a Subject-Specific Sparse Dictionary Learning algorithm with manual correction. Perfusion-related parameters including CBF, MTT, the BBB leakage parameter, and volume transfer constant were determined.

RESULTS: MTT was significantly prolonged (7.88 [SD, 1.03] seconds) within white matter lesions compared with normal-appearing white (7.29 [SD, 1.14] seconds) and gray matter (6.67 [SD, 1.35] seconds). The volume transfer constant, measured by dynamic contrast-enhanced imaging, was significantly elevated (0.013 [SD, 0.017] minutes-1) in white matter lesions compared with normal-appearing white matter (0.007 [SD, 0.011]  minutes-1). BBB disruption within white matter lesions was detected relative to normal white and gray matter using the DSC-BBB leakage parameter method so that increasing BBB disruption correlated with increasing white matter lesion volume (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.44; P < .046).

CONCLUSIONS: A dual-contrast-injection MR imaging protocol combined with a 3D automated segmentation analysis pipeline was used to assess BBB disruption in white matter lesions on the basis of quantitative perfusion measures including the volume transfer constant (dynamic contrast-enhanced imaging), the BBB leakage parameter (DSC), and MTT (DSC). This protocol was able to detect early pathologic changes in otherwise healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1402
JournalAJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
Issue number8
Early online date2021 Jun 3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Other Physics Topics


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