Objectives: The objectives of this study were to explore the possibilities of 7 T brain magnetic resonance imaging to visualize perivascular spaces (PVS) and to depict their related blood vessels.
Materials and methods: Five subjects aged 19 to 27 years and 5 subjects aged 51 to 72 years were scanned. High-resolution 3-dimensional T1-, T2-, as well as T2*-weighted sequences and time-of-flight angiography were used for the visualization of PVS, veins, and perforating arteries. Three extra subjects were scanned with a 2-dimensional time-of-flight sequence tailored to visualize small arteries and veins in the semioval center. The anatomy of PVS and their spatial relation with blood vessels were examined. The number and size of PVS in the semioval center were compared between the 2 groups.
Results: In the basal ganglia, PVS were connected to the basal cisterns. Prominent dilations were observed in these PVS around the lower end of the putamen. From here, they ran upward and frequently showed caliber changes along their track. In the semioval center, smoothly shaped PVS started a few millimeters below the cortex, converged and tapered toward the ventricles, and ended 1 to 2 cm before the ventricle wall. Perivascular spaces correlated spatially with lenticulostriate arteries and with perforating arteries in the semioval center, but not with veins. The mean (SD) number of PVS was larger in the older subjects (55 ) than in the younger subjects (22 ), (P = 0.004). No difference in PVS diameter was observed.
Conclusions: Seven-tesla magnetic resonance imaging offers detailed 3-dimensional visualization of PVS, their morphological features, and their related perforating arteries. This may offer new opportunities to study the role of PVS in ageing and cerebral small vessel disease.