Visualization of perivascular spaces in the human brain at 7T: sequence optimization and morphology characterization

Neuroimage. 2016 Jan 15;125:895-902. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.10.078. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


Noninvasive imaging of perivascular spaces (PVSs) may provide useful insights into their role in normal brain physiology and diseases. Fast MRI sequences with sub-millimeter spatial resolutions and high contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) are required for accurate delineation of PVS in human. To achieve the optimal condition for PVS imaging at 7T, we carried out detailed simulation and experimental studies to characterize the dependence of CNR on imaging sequences (T1 versus T2-weighted) and sequence parameters. In addition, PVSs were segmented semi-automatically, which revealed much larger numbers of PVSs in young healthy subjects (age 21-37years) than previously reported. To the best of our knowledge, our study provides, for the first time, detailed length, volume, and diameter distributions of PVS in the white matter and subcortical nuclei, which can serve as a reference for future studies of PVS abnormalities under diseased conditions.

Keywords: 7T; MPRAGE; MRI; Perivascular spaces; Turbo spin echo; Variable flip angle; Virchow–Robin space.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Extracellular Space*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Young Adult