Spreading of vasogenic edema and cytotoxic edema assessed by quantitative diffusion and T2 magnetic resonance imaging

Stroke. 1997 Feb;28(2):419-26; discussion 426-7. doi: 10.1161/01.str.28.2.419.


Background and purpose: The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of water should be sensitive to the cytotoxic edema triggered by energy failure during ischemia. Elevated values of T2. the nuclear MR transverse relaxation time of water, seen on T2 nuclear MR images detect vasogenic edema and infarcted areas. The temporal and spatial changes in ADC and T2 abnormalities after occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) were therefore estimated by these two quantitative techniques.

Methods: Permanent MCAO was performed on rats. Quantitative ADC and T2 maps of brain water were obtained, from which the ischemic volumes were calculated at various times up to 48 hours after MCAO.

Results: The areas of decreased ADC represented 36 +/- 7% of the final infarct volume (24 hours) at 0.5 hours and 64 +/- 4% at 5 hours after MCAO, suggesting that there is recruitment of peripheral areas with disturbed energy metabolism and cytotoxic edema. The ADC and T2 contours closely matched at 3.5, 24, and 48 hours after MCAO.

Conclusions: T2 imaging can assess ischemic insults as well as ADC imaging, but only 3.5 hours after the onset of ischemia. Assessment of edematous swelling (approximately 24.5% of total infarcted volume) demonstrates that ADC and therefore T2 imaging detect all the tissue that will become infarcted approximately 7 hours after occlusion. The spread of ADC and T2 abnormalities would therefore stop at approximately 7 hours, and any further increase in volume observed on the images would be mainly due to edematous swelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Brain Edema / metabolism
  • Brain Edema / pathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Brain Ischemia / metabolism
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Size
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications
  • Cerebral Infarction / metabolism
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology
  • Diffusion
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / complications
  • Ligation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley