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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2019 Sep 9:271678X19874643. doi: 10.1177/0271678X19874643. [Epub ahead of print]

Comparison of simultaneous arterial spin labeling MRI and 15 O-H2O PET measurements of regional cerebral blood flow in rest and altered perfusion states.

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Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine and PET, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Arterial spin labelling (ASL) is a non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that may provide fully quantitative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) images. However, before its application in clinical routine, ASL needs to be validated against the clinical gold standard, 15O-H2O positron emission tomography (PET). We aimed to compare the two techniques by performing simultaneous quantitative ASL-MRI and 15O-H2O-PET examinations in a hybrid PET/MRI scanner. Duplicate rCBF measurements were performed in healthy young subjects (n = 14) in rest, during hyperventilation, and after acetazolamide (post-ACZ), yielding 63 combined PET/MRI datasets in total. Average global CBF by ASL-MRI and 15O-H2O-PET was not significantly different in any state (40.0 ± 6.5 and 40.6 ± 4.1 mL/100 g/min, respectively in rest, 24.5 ± 5.1 and 23.4 ± 4.8 mL/100 g/min, respectively, during hyperventilation, and 59.1 ± 10.4 and 64.7 ± 10.0 mL/100 g/min, respectively, post-ACZ). Overall, strong correlation between the two methods was found across all states (slope = 1.01, R2 = 0.82), while the correlations within individual states and of reactivity measures were weaker, in particular in rest (R2 = 0.05, p = 0.03). Regional distribution was similar, although ASL yielded higher perfusion and absolute reactivity in highly vascularized areas. In conclusion, ASL-MRI and 15O-H2O-PET measurements of rCBF are highly correlated across different perfusion states, but with variable correlation within and between hemodynamic states, and systematic differences in regional distribution.


15O-H2O-PET; Arterial spin labeling; PET/MRI; cerebral blood flow; perfusion


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