Imaging Vascular And Hemodynamic Features Of The Brain Using Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast And Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Mri



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In the context of neurologic disorders, dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) and dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI provide valuable insights into cerebral vascular function, integrity, and architecture. Even after two decades of use, these modalities continue to evolve as their biophysical and kinetic basis is better understood, with improvements in pulse sequences and accelerated imaging techniques and through application of more robust and automated data analysis strategies. Here, we systematically review each of these elements, with a focus on how their integration improves kinetic parameter accuracy and the development of new hemodynamic biomarkers that provide sub-voxel sensitivity (e.g., capillary transit time and flow heterogeneity). Regarding contrast mechanisms, we discuss the dipole-dipole interactions and susceptibility effects that give rise to simultaneous T 1 , T 2 and T 2∗ relaxation effects, including their quantification, influence on pulse sequence parameter optimization, and use in methods such as vessel size and vessel architectural imaging. The application of technologic advancements, such as parallel imaging, simultaneous multi-slice, undersampled k-space acquisitions, and sliding window strategies, enables improved spatial and/or temporal resolution of DSC and DCE acquisitions. Such acceleration techniques have also enabled the implementation of, clinically feasible, simultaneous multi-echo spin- and gradient echo acquisitions, providing more comprehensive and quantitative interrogation of T 1 , T 2 and T 2∗ changes. Characterizing these relaxation rate changes through different post-processing options allows for the quantification of hemodynamics and vascular permeability. The application of different biophysical models provides insight into traditional hemodynamic parameters (e.g., cerebral blood volume) and more advanced parameters (e.g., capillary transit time heterogeneity). We provide insight into the appropriate selection of biophysical models and the necessary post-processing steps to ensure reliable measurements while minimizing potential sources of error. We show representative examples of advanced DSC- and DCE-MRI methods applied to pathologic conditions affecting the cerebral microcirculation, including brain tumors, stroke, aging, and multiple sclerosis. The maturation and standardization of conventional DSC- and DCE-MRI techniques has enabled their increased integration into clinical practice and use in clinical trials, which has, in turn, spurred renewed interest in their technological and biophysical development, paving the way towards a more comprehensive assessment of cerebral hemodynamics.

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