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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Brain-Blood Partition Coefficient and Cerebral Blood Flow in Canines Using Calibrated Short TR Recovery (CaSTRR) Correction Method.

  • Author(s): Thalman, Scott W
  • Powell, David K
  • Ubele, Margo
  • Norris, Christopher M
  • Head, Elizabeth
  • Lin, Ai-Ling
  • et al.

The brain-blood partition coefficient (BBPC) is necessary for quantifying cerebral blood flow (CBF) when using tracer based techniques like arterial spin labeling (ASL). A recent improvement to traditional MRI measurements of BBPC, called calibrated short TR recovery (CaSTRR), has demonstrated a significant reduction in acquisition time for BBPC maps in mice. In this study CaSTRR is applied to a cohort of healthy canines (n = 17, age = 5.0 - 8.0 years) using a protocol suited for application in humans at 3T. The imaging protocol included CaSTRR for BBPC maps, pseudo-continuous ASL for CBF maps, and high resolution anatomical images. The standard CaSTRR method of normalizing BBPC to gadolinium-doped deuterium oxide phantoms was also compared to normalization using hematocrit (Hct) as a proxy value for blood water content. The results show that CaSTRR is able to produce high quality BBPC maps with a 4 min acquisition time. The BBPC maps demonstrate significantly higher BBPC in gray matter (0.83 ± 0.05 mL/g) than in white matter (0.78 ± 0.04 mL/g, p = 0.006). Maps of CBF acquired with pCASL demonstrate a negative correlation between gray matter perfusion and age (p = 0.003). Voxel-wise correction for BBPC is also shown to improve contrast to noise ratio between gray and white matter in CBF maps. A novel aspect of the study was to show that that BBPC measurements can be calculated based on the known Hct of the blood sample placed in scanner. We found a strong correlation (R 2 = 0.81 in gray matter, R 2 = 0.59 in white matter) established between BBPC maps normalized to the doped phantoms and BBPC maps normalized using Hct. This obviates the need for doped water phantoms which simplifies both the acquisition protocol and the post-processing methods. Together this suggests that CaSTRR represents a feasible, rapid method to account for BBPC variability when quantifying CBF. As canines have been used widely for aging and Alzheimer's disease studies, the CaSTRR method established in the animals may further improve CBF measurements and advance our understanding of cerebrovascular changes in aging and neurodegeneration.

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