Quantitative functional Arterial Spin Labeling (fASL) MRI - Sensitivity and reproducibility of regional CBF changes using pseudo-continuous ASL product sequences

Rebecca M.E. Steketee, Henri J.M.M. Mutsaerts, Esther E. Bron, Matthias J.P. Van Osch, Charles B.L.M. Majoie, Aad Van Der Lugt, Aart J. Nederveen, Marion Smits

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Abstract

Arterial spin labeling (ASL) magnetic resonance imaging is increasingly used to quantify task-related brain activation. This study assessed functional ASL (fASL) using pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) product sequences from two vendors. By scanning healthy participants twice with each sequence while they performed a motor task, this study assessed functional ASL for 1) its sensitivity to detect task-related cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes, and 2) its reproducibility of resting CBF and absolute CBF changes (delta CBF) in the motor cortex. Whole-brain voxel-wise analyses showed that sensitivity for motor activation was sufficient with each sequence, and comparable between sequences. Reproducibility was assessed with within-subject coefficients of variation (wsCV) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). Reproducibility of resting CBF was reasonably good within (wsCV: 14.1-15.7%; ICC: 0.69-0.77) and between sequences (wsCV: 15.1%; ICC: 0.69). Reproducibility of delta CBF was relatively low, both within (wsCV: 182-297%; ICC: 0.04-0.32) and between sequences (wsCV: 185%; ICC: 0.45), while inter-session variation was low. This may be due to delta CBF's small mean effect (0.77-1.32 mL/100g gray matter/min). In conclusion, fASL seems sufficiently sensitive to detect task-related changes on a group level, with acceptable inter-sequence differences. Resting CBF may provide a consistent baseline to compare task-related activation to, but absolute regional CBF changes are more variable, and should be interpreted cautiously when acquired with two pCASL product sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132929
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2015

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