Measurement of cerebral white matter perfusion using pseudocontinuous arterial spin labeling 3T magnetic resonance imaging--an experimental and theoretical investigation of feasibility

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 6;8(12):e82679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082679. eCollection 2013.


Purpose: This study was aimed to experimentally and numerically investigate the feasibility of measuring cerebral white matter perfusion using pseudocontinuous arterial spin labeling (PCASL) 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at a relatively fine resolution to mitigate partial volume effect from gray matter.

Materials and methods: The Institutional Research Ethics Committee approved this study. On a clinical 3T MR system, ten healthy volunteers (5 females, 5 males, age = 28 ± 3 years) were scanned after providing written informed consent. PCASL imaging was performed with varied combinations of labeling duration (τ = 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 ms) and post-labeling delay (PLD = 1000, 1400, 1800, and 2200 ms), at a spatial resolution (1.56 x 1.56 x 5 mm(3)) finer than commonly used (3.5 x 3.5 mm(2), 5-8 mm in thickness). Computer simulations were performed to calculate the achievable perfusion-weighted signal-to-noise ratio at varied τ, PLD, and transit delay.

Results: Based on experimental and numerical data, the optimal τ and PLD were found to be 2000 ms and 1500-1800 ms, respectively, yielding adequate SNR (~2) to support perfusion measurement in the majority (~60%) of white matter. The measurement variability was about 9% in a one-week interval. The measured white matter perfusion and perfusion ratio of gray matter to white matter were 15.8-27.5 ml/100ml/min and 1.8-4.0, respectively, depending on spatial resolution as well as the amount of deep white matter included.

Conclusion: PCASL 3T MRI is able to measure perfusion in the majority of cerebral white matter at an adequate signal-to-noise ratio by using appropriate tagging duration and post-labeling delay. Although pixel-wise comparison may not be possible, region-of-interest based flow quantification is feasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Spin Labels
  • Time Factors


  • Spin Labels

Grant support

This study was funded by two grants from the National Science Council of Taiwan (99-2221-E-002-003-MY3 and 102-2221-E-002-219). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.