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Relationships between spinal cord blood flow measured with flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) and neurobehavioral outcomes in rat spinal cord injury. Magn Reson Imaging 2021 05;78:42-51



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85100974870   1 Citation


In the traumatically injured spinal cord, decreased perfusion is believed to contribute to secondary tissue damage beyond the primary mechanical impact, and restoration of perfusion is believed to be a promising therapeutic target. However, methods to monitor spinal cord perfusion non-invasively are limited. Perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques established for the brain have not been routinely adopted to the spinal cord. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) and injury severity in a rat thoracic spinal cord contusion injury (SCI) model using flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) with two variants of the label position. SCBF as a marker of severity was compared to T1 mapping and to spinal cord-optimized diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with filtered parallel apparent diffusion coefficient. Thirty-eight rats underwent a T10 contusion injury with varying severities (8 sham; 10 mild; 10 moderate; 10 severe) with MRI performed at 1A day post injury at the lesion site and follow-up neurological assessments using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor scoring up to 28A days post injury. Using whole-cord regions of interest at the lesion epicenter, SCBF was decreased with injury severity and had a significant correlation with BBB scores at 28A days post injury. Importantly, estimates of arterial transit times (ATT) in the injured spinal cord were not altered after injury, which suggests that FAIR protocols optimized to measure SCBF provide more value in the context of acute traumatic injury to the cord. T1-relaxation time constants were strongly related to injury severity and had a larger extent of changes than either SCBF or DWI measures. These findings suggest that perfusion decreases in the spinal cord can be monitored non-invasively after injury, and multi-parametric MRI assessments of perfusion, diffusion, and relaxation capture unique features of the pathophysiology of preclinical injury.

Author List

Lee S, Wilkins N, Schmit BD, Kurpad SN, Budde MD


Matthew Budde PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Shekar N. Kurpad MD, PhD Chair, Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Behavior, Animal
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Spinal Cord
Spinal Cord Injuries