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Front Neurosci. 2019 Apr 2;13:308. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00308. eCollection 2019.

Novel Calibrated Short TR Recovery (CaSTRR) Method for Brain-Blood Partition Coefficient Correction Enhances Gray-White Matter Contrast in Blood Flow Measurements in Mice.

Thalman SW1,2, Powell DK1,3, Lin AL1,3,4,5.

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F. Joseph Halcomb III, MD Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States.
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States.
Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States.
Department of Neuroscience, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States.


The goal of the study was to develop a novel, rapid Calibrated Short TR Recovery (CaSTRR) method to measure the brain-blood partition coefficient (BBPC) in mice. The BBPC is necessary for quantifying cerebral blood flow (CBF) using tracer-based techniques like arterial spin labeling (ASL), but previous techniques required prohibitively long acquisition times so a constant BBPC equal to 0.9 mL/g is typically used regardless of studied species, condition, or disease. An accelerated method of BBPC correction could improve regional specificity in CBF maps particularly in white matter. Male C57Bl/6N mice (n = 8) were scanned at 7T using CaSTRR to measure BBPC determine regional variability. This technique employs phase-spoiled gradient echo acquisitions with varying repetition times (TRs) to estimate proton density in the brain and a blood sample. Proton density weighted images are then calibrated to a series of phantoms with known concentrations of deuterium to determine BBPC. Pseudo-continuous ASL was also acquired to quantify CBF with and without empirical BBPC correction. Using the CaSTRR technique we demonstrate that, in mice, white matter has a significantly lower BBPC (BBPCwhite = 0.93 ± 0.05 mL/g) than cortical gray matter (BBPCgray = 0.99 ± 0.04 mL/g, p = 0.03), and that when voxel-wise BBPC correction is performed on CBF maps the observed difference in perfusion between gray and white matter is improved by as much as 14%. Our results suggest that BBPC correction is feasible and could be particularly important in future studies of perfusion in white matter pathologies.


arterial spin labeling; brain-blood partition coefficient; cerebral blood flow; gray-white matter contrast; magnetic resonance imaging

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