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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1996 Sep;16(5):765-80.

Cerebral [15O]water clearance in humans determined by PET: I. Theory and normal values.

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  • 1Positron Imaging Laboratories, McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, Canada.


When used to measure blood flow in the brain, water leaves a residue in the vascular bed that influences the estimation of blood flow by current methods. To assess the magnitude of this influence, we developed a two-compartment model of blood flow with separate parameters for transport and vascular distribution of brain water. Maps of the water clearance, K1 into brain tissue, separated from the circulation by a measurably resistant blood-brain barrier (BBB), were generated by time-weighted integration. Depending on the validity of the assumptions underlying the two-compartment model presented here, the maps revealed a significant overestimation of the clearance of water when the vascular residue was ignored. Maps of Vo, the estimate of the apparent vascular distribution volume of tracer H2(15)O, clearly revealed major cerebral arteries. Thus, we claim that the accumulation of radioactive water in brain tissue also reflects the volume of the arterial vascular bed of the brain.

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