Autoidentification of perivascular spaces in white matter using clinical field strength T 1 and FLAIR MR imaging

Neuroimage. 2019 Nov 15;202:116126. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116126. Epub 2019 Aug 25.


Recent interest in enlarged perivascular spaces (ePVS) in the brain, which can be visualized on MRI and appear isointense to cerebrospinal fluid on all sequence weightings, has resulted in the necessity of reliable algorithms for automated segmentation to allow for whole brain assessment of ePVS burden. However, several publicly available datasets do not contain sequences required for recently published algorithms. This prospective study presents a method for identification of enlarged perivascular spaces (ePVS) in white matter using 3T T1 and FLAIR MR imaging (MAPS-T1), making the algorithm accessible to groups with valuable sets of limited data. The approach was applied identically to two datasets: 1) a repeated measurement in a dementia-free aged human population (N = 14), and 2) an aged sample of multisite ADNI datasets (N = 30). ePVS segmentation was accomplished by a stepwise local homogeneity search of white matter-masked T1-weighted data, constrained by FLAIR hyperintensity, and further constrained by width, volume, and linearity measurements. Pearson's r was employed for statistical testing between visual (gold standard) assessment and repeated measures in cohort one. Visual ePVS counts were significantly correlated with MAPS-T1 (r = .72, P < .0001). Correlations between repeated measurements in cohort one were significant for both visual and automated methods in the single visually-rated slice (MAPS-T1: r = .87, P < .0001, visual: (r = .86, P < .0001) and for whole brain assessment (MAPS-T1: r = .77, P = .001). Results from each cohort were manually inspected and found to have positive predictive values of 77.5% and 87.5%, respectively. The approach described in this report is an important tool for detailed assessment of ePVS burden in white matter on routinely acquired MRI sequences.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s; Enlarged perivascular space; MRI; Segmentation; Vascular disease; Virchow-robin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Algorithms*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Female
  • Glymphatic System / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging*