Advances in arterial spin labelling MRI methods for measuring perfusion and collateral flow

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2018 Sep;38(9):1461-1480. doi: 10.1177/0271678X17713434. Epub 2017 Jun 9.


With the publication in 2015 of the consensus statement by the perfusion study group of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the EU-COST action 'ASL in dementia' on the implementation of arterial spin labelling MRI (ASL) in a clinical setting, the development of ASL can be considered to have become mature and ready for clinical prime-time. In this review article new developments and remaining issues will be discussed, especially focusing on quantification of ASL as well as on new technological developments of ASL for perfusion imaging and flow territory mapping. Uncertainty of the achieved labelling efficiency in pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) as well as the presence of arterial transit time artefacts, can be considered the main remaining challenges for the use of quantitative cerebral blood flow (CBF) values. New developments in ASL centre around time-efficient acquisition of dynamic ASL-images by means of time-encoded pCASL and diversification of information content, for example by combined 4D-angiography with perfusion imaging. Current vessel-encoded and super-selective pCASL-methodology have developed into easily applied flow-territory mapping methods providing relevant clinical information with highly similar information content as digital subtraction angiography (DSA), the current clinical standard. Both approaches seem therefore to be ready for clinical use.

Keywords: Arterial spin labelling; cerebral blood flow; cerebral haemodynamics; magnetic resonance; perfusion weighted MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Collateral Circulation / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Perfusion Imaging / methods*
  • Spin Labels


  • Spin Labels