A quantitative MRI method for imaging blood-brain barrier leakage in experimental traumatic brain injury

Wei Li, Justin Alexander Long, Lora Talley Watts, Zhao Jiang, Qiang Shen, Yunxia Li, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption is common following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI can longitudinally measure the transport coefficient Ktranswhich reflects BBB permeability. Ktransmeasurements however are not widely used in TBI research because it is generally considered to be noisy and possesses low spatial resolution. We improved spatiotemporal resolution and signal sensitivity of KtransMRI in rats by using a high-sensitivity surface transceiver coil. To overcome the signal drop off profile of the surface coil, a pre-scan module was used to map the flip angle (B1 field) and magnetization (M0) distributions. A series of T1-weighted gradient echo images were acquired and fitted to the extended Kety model with reversible or irreversible leakage, and the best model was selected using F-statistics. We applied this method to study the rat brain one hour following controlled cortical impact (mild to moderate TBI), and observed clear depiction of the BBB damage around the impact regions, which matched that outlined by Evans Blue extravasation. Unlike the relatively uniform T2 contrast showing cerebral edema, Ktransshows a pronounced heterogeneous spatial profile in and around the impact regions, displaying a nonlinear relationship with T1. This improved KtransMRI method is also compatible with the use of high-sensitivity surface coil and the high-contrast two-coil arterial spin-labeling method for cerebral blood flow measurement, enabling more comprehensive investigation of the pathophysiology in TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere114173
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 5 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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