Quantitative intracranial atherosclerotic plaque characterization at 7T MRI: An ex vivo study with histologic validation

A.A. Harteveld, N.P. Denswil, J.C.W. Siero, J.J.M. Zwanenburg, A. Vink, B. Pouran, W.G.M. Spliet, D.W.J. Klomp, PR Luijten, MJ Daemen, J Hendrikse, A.G. van der Kolk

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32 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In recent years, several high-resolution vessel wall MR imaging techniques have emerged for the characterization of intracranial atherosclerotic vessel wall lesions in vivo. However, a thorough validation of MR imaging results of intracranial plaques with histopathology is still lacking. The aim of this study was to characterize atherosclerotic plaque components in a quantitative manner by obtaining the MR signal characteristics (T1, T2, T2∗, and proton density) at 7T in ex vivo circle of Willis specimens and using histopathology for validation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A multiparametric ultra-high-resolution quantitative MR imaging protocol was performed at 7T to identify the MR signal characteristics of different intracranial atherosclerotic plaque components, and using histopathology for validation. In total, 38 advanced plaques were matched between MR imaging and histology, and ROI analysis was performed on the identified tissue components. RESULTS: Mean T1, T2, and T2∗ relaxation times and proton density values were significantly different between different tissue components. The quantitative T1 map showed the most differences among individual tissue components of intracranial plaques with significant differences in T1 values between lipid accumulation (T1 = 838 ± 167 ms), fibrous tissue (T1 = 583 ± 161 ms), fibrous cap (T1 = 481 ± 98 ms), calcifications (T1 = 314 ± 39 ms), and the intracranial arterial vessel wall (T1 = 436 ± 122 ms). CONCLUSIONS: Different tissue components of advanced intracranial plaques have distinguishable imaging characteristics with ultrahigh-resolution quantitative MR imaging at 7T. Based on this study, the most promising method for distinguishing intracranial plaque components is T1-weighted imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-810
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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