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New Trends in Vascular Imaging
Review

Non-Invasive Evaluation of Cerebral Microvasculature Using Pre-Clinical MRI: Principles, Advantages and Limitations

1
Biomedical MRI Group, University of Leuven, Herestraat 49, bus 505, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2
CMVB, Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, University of Leuven, Herestraat 49, bus 911, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
3
CARIM, Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 50, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kristoffer Lindskov Hansen and Jonathan Frederik Carlsen
Diagnostics 2021, 11(6), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11060926
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 16 May 2021 / Accepted: 17 May 2021 / Published: 21 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Vascular Imaging)
Alterations to the cerebral microcirculation have been recognized to play a crucial role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders. However, the exact role of the microvascular alterations in the pathophysiological mechanisms often remains poorly understood. The early detection of changes in microcirculation and cerebral blood flow (CBF) can be used to get a better understanding of underlying disease mechanisms. This could be an important step towards the development of new treatment approaches. Animal models allow for the study of the disease mechanism at several stages of development, before the onset of clinical symptoms, and the verification with invasive imaging techniques. Specifically, pre-clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important tool for the development and validation of MRI sequences under clinically relevant conditions. This article reviews MRI strategies providing indirect non-invasive measurements of microvascular changes in the rodent brain that can be used for early detection and characterization of neurodegenerative disorders. The perfusion MRI techniques: Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE), Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast Enhanced (DSC) and Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL), will be discussed, followed by less established imaging strategies used to analyze the cerebral microcirculation: Intravoxel Incoherent Motion (IVIM), Vascular Space Occupancy (VASO), Steady-State Susceptibility Contrast (SSC), Vessel size imaging, SAGE-based DSC, Phase Contrast Flow (PC) Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) and quantitative Blood-Oxygenation-Level-Dependent (qBOLD). We will emphasize the advantages and limitations of each strategy, in particular on applications for high-field MRI in the rodent’s brain. View Full-Text
Keywords: microvasculature; brain; MRI; rodent; neurodegenerative disorders; perfusion microvasculature; brain; MRI; rodent; neurodegenerative disorders; perfusion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Callewaert, B.; Jones, E.A.V.; Himmelreich, U.; Gsell, W. Non-Invasive Evaluation of Cerebral Microvasculature Using Pre-Clinical MRI: Principles, Advantages and Limitations. Diagnostics 2021, 11, 926. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11060926

AMA Style

Callewaert B, Jones EAV, Himmelreich U, Gsell W. Non-Invasive Evaluation of Cerebral Microvasculature Using Pre-Clinical MRI: Principles, Advantages and Limitations. Diagnostics. 2021; 11(6):926. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11060926

Chicago/Turabian Style

Callewaert, Bram; Jones, Elizabeth A.V.; Himmelreich, Uwe; Gsell, Willy. 2021. "Non-Invasive Evaluation of Cerebral Microvasculature Using Pre-Clinical MRI: Principles, Advantages and Limitations" Diagnostics 11, no. 6: 926. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11060926

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