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Stroke. 2012 Aug;43(8):2252-4. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.661926. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Stratification of heterogeneous diffusion MRI ischemic lesion with kurtosis imaging: evaluation of mean diffusion and kurtosis MRI mismatch in an animal model of transient focal ischemia.

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  • 1Athinoula A. Martinos Center, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Ischemic tissue damage is heterogeneous, resulting in complex patterns in the widely used diffusion-weighted MRI. Our study examined the spatiotemporal characteristics of diffusion kurtosis imaging in an animal model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion.


Adult male Wistar rats (N=18) were subjected to 90 minutes middle cerebral artery occlusion. Multiparametric MR images were obtained during middle cerebral artery occlusion and 20 minutes after reperfusion with diffusion-weighted MRI obtained using 8 b-values from 250 to 3000 s/mm(2) in 6 diffusion gradient directions. Diffusion and kurtosis lesions were outlined in shuffled images by 2 investigators independently. T(2) MRI was obtained 24 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion to evaluate stroke outcome.


Mean diffusion lesion (23.5%±8.1%, percentage of the brain slice) was significantly larger than mean kurtosis lesion (13.2%±2.0%) during middle cerebral artery occlusion. Mean diffusion lesion decreased significantly after reperfusion (13.8%±4.3%), whereas mean kurtosis lesion showed little change (13.0%±2.5%) with their lesion size difference being insignificant.


We demonstrated that mean diffusion/mean kurtosis mismatch recovered reasonably well on reperfusion, whereas regions with concurrent mean diffusion and mean kurtosis deficits showed poor recovery. Diffusion kurtosis imaging may help stratify heterogeneous diffusion-weighted MRI lesions for enhanced characterization of ischemic tissue injury.

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