Objective: Dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has previously shown alterations in cerebral perfusion in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the results have been inconsistent, in particular regarding neuropsychiatric (NP) SLE. Thus, we investigated perfusion-based measures in different brain regions in SLE patients with and without NP involvement, and additionally, in white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), the most common MRI pathology in SLE patients. Materials and methods: We included 3 T MRI images (conventional and DSC) from 64 female SLE patients and 19 healthy controls (HC). Three different NPSLE attribution models were used: the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) A model (13 patients), the SLICC B model (19 patients), and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) case definitions for NPSLE (38 patients). Normalized cerebral blood flow (CBF), cerebral blood volume (CBV) and mean transit time (MTT) were calculated in 26 manually drawn regions of interest and compared between SLE patients and HC, and between NPSLE and non-NPSLE patients. Additionally, normalized CBF, CBV and MTT, as well as absolute values of the blood-brain barrier leakage parameter (K2) were investigated in WMHs compared to normal appearing white matter (NAWM) in the SLE patients. Results: After correction for multiple comparisons, the most prevalent finding was a bilateral significant decrease in MTT in SLE patients compared to HC in the hypothalamus, putamen, right posterior thalamus and right anterior insula. Significant decreases in SLE compared to HC were also found for CBF in the pons, and for CBV in the bilateral putamen and posterior thalamus. Significant increases were found for CBF in the posterior corpus callosum and for CBV in the anterior corpus callosum. Similar patterns were found for both NPSLE and non-NPSLE patients for all attributional models compared to HC. However, no significant perfusion differences were revealed between NPSLE and non-NPSLE patients regardless of attribution model. The WMHs in SLE patients showed a significant increase in all perfusion-based metrics (CBF, CBV, MTT and K2) compared to NAWM. Conclusion: Our study revealed perfusion differences in several brain regions in SLE patients compared to HC, independently of NP involvement. Furthermore, increased K2 in WMHs compared to NAWM may indicate blood-brain barrier dysfunction in SLE patients. We conclude that our results show a robust cerebral perfusion, independent from the different NP attribution models, and provide insight into potential BBB dysfunction and altered vascular properties of WMHs in female SLE patients. Despite SLE being most prevalent in females, a generalization of our conclusions should be avoided, and future studies including all sexes are needed.

Antal sidor10
TidskriftNeuroImage: Clinical
StatusPublished - 2023 mars 28

Bibliografisk information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Radiologi och bildbehandling
  • Reumatologi och inflammation
  • Neurologi
  • Annan fysik


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