Voxel-wise correlations between cognition and cerebral blood flow using arterial spin-labeled perfusion MRI in patients with Alzheimer's disease: a cross-sectional study

BMC Neurol. 2017 May 15;17(1):91. doi: 10.1186/s12883-017-0870-x.


Background: To analyze voxel-wise correlation between cerebral blood flow (CBF) measured using ASL-MRI and cognition in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: Forty-one patients diagnosed with AD or mild cognitive impairment due to AD were recruited for this study. CBF images were obtained using ASL-MRI (n = 41) with a post-labeling delay (PLD) of 1.5 and 2.5 s (PLD1.5 and PLD2.5, respectively) using a 3 T scanner, in addition to brain perfusion SPECT with N-isopropyl-4-[I-123]iodoamphetamine (n = 28). Voxel-based analyses were performed for ASL-MRI and SPECT using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores as covariates. Differences in CBF between PLD1.5 and PLD2.5 were assessed using a paired t-test with SPM12.

Results: Significant positive correlations were observed between MMSE scores and CBF at PLD1.5 in the right posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and both temporo-parietal association cortexes. At PLD2.5, significant positive correlations were determined for MMSE scores and CBF in the superior parietal lobule and the right temporo-parietal association cortex. SPECT showed significant positive correlations in the PCC and both temporo-parietal association cortexes (right-side dominant). PLD1.5 showed significantly higher CBF than PLD2.5 in the proximal areas of vascular territories of the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries.

Conclusions: Significant positive correlations in CBF, measured with both ASL-MRI and SPECT, with cognition were found in the PCC and temporo-parietal association cortexes. PLD1.5 and PLD2.5 showed similar correlations with cognition, although the CBF images had significant differences.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease* / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Spin Labels


  • Spin Labels