MR imaging of microvasculature

Magn Reson Med. 2000 Aug;44(2):224-30. doi: 10.1002/1522-2594(200008)44:2<224::aid-mrm9>;2-m.


An imaging technique is proposed in which the contrast is correlated to the morphology of capillaries and other small blood vessels. The technique is based on measurements of the relaxation rates 1/T(2) and 1/T*(2) before and after the injection of a contrast agent. An image is then formed by mapping the quantity Q identical with delta R(2)/(delta R*(2))(2/3), where delta R(2) and delta R*(2) are the changes in the relaxation rates due to the contrast agent. If the contrast agent concentration is sufficiently high, it is shown that Q is given approximately by a simple analytic formula that involves only intrinsic properties of the vascular network and the rate of diffusion. In particular, Q is sensitive to the histologic vessel density. Theoretical predictions for Q are shown to be consistent with experimental data obtained with a rat glioma model and normal cerebral cortex. The imaging technique may be useful in characterizing tumor angiogenesis. Magn Reson Med 44:224-230, 2000.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide
  • Glioma / blood supply*
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Microcirculation
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / diagnosis*
  • Oxides / administration & dosage
  • Rats


  • Contrast Media
  • Oxides
  • Iron
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide