Dynamic, contrast-enhanced MRI (deMRI) is increasingly being used to evaluate cerebral microcirculation. There are two different approaches for analyzing deMRI data. Intravascular indicator dilution theory has been used to estimate blood volume (and perfusion), usually from T(2)- or T(2) (*)-weighted images of the first pass of the bolus. However, the theory assumes that the tracer (i.e., contrast agent) remains intravascular, which is often not the case when the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is damaged. Furthermore, the method provides no information on the vascular transfer constant. Pharmacokinetic modeling analyses of T(1)-weighted images after first pass do give values of the vascular transfer constant and the volume of the extravascular, extracellular space (EES), but they generally are unable to give estimates of blood volume. In this study we apply pharmacokinetic modeling to dynamic T(2) (*)-weighted imaging of the first pass of a tracer bolus. This method, which we call first-pass pharmacokinetic modeling (FPPM), gives an estimate of the blood volume, vascular transfer constant, and EES volume. The method was applied to a group of 26 patients with surgically proven tumors (10 glioblastomas multiforme (GBMs), six lymphomas, and 10 meningiomas). The measurements of the blood volume and transfer constant were consistent with the known physiology of these tumors.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.