Prospects for investigating brain oxygenation in acute stroke: Experience with a non-contrast quantitative BOLD based approach.
Stone AJ., Harston GWJ., Carone D., Okell TW., Kennedy J., Blockley NP.
Metabolic markers of baseline brain oxygenation and tissue perfusion have an important role to play in the early identification of ischaemic tissue in acute stroke. Although well established MRI techniques exist for mapping brain perfusion, quantitative imaging of brain oxygenation is poorly served. Streamlined-qBOLD (sqBOLD) is a recently developed technique for mapping oxygenation that is well suited to the challenge of investigating acute stroke. In this study a noninvasive serial imaging protocol was implemented, incorporating sqBOLD and arterial spin labelling to map blood oxygenation and perfusion, respectively. The utility of these parameters was investigated using imaging based definitions of tissue outcome (ischaemic core, infarct growth and contralateral tissue). Voxel wise analysis revealed significant differences between all tissue outcomes using pairwise comparisons for the transverse reversible relaxation rate (R 2 '), deoxygenated blood volume (DBV) and deoxyghaemoglobin concentration ([dHb]; p < 0.01 in all cases). At the patient level (n = 9), a significant difference was observed for [dHb] between ischaemic core and contralateral tissue. Furthermore, serial analysis at the patient level (n = 6) revealed significant changes in R 2 ' between the presentation and 1 week scans for both ischaemic core (p < 0.01) and infarct growth (p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study presents evidence supporting the potential of sqBOLD for imaging oxygenation in stroke.