Many brain diseases have been linked to abnormal oxygen metabolism and blood perfusion; nevertheless, there is still a lack of robust diagnostic tools for directly imaging cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) and cerebral blood flow (CBF), as well as the oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) that reflects the balance between CMRO2 and CBF. This study employed the recently developed in vivo 17O MR spectroscopic imaging to simultaneously assess CMRO2, CBF and OEF in the brain using a preclinical middle cerebral arterial occlusion mouse model with a brief inhalation of 17O-labeled oxygen gas. The results demonstrated high sensitivity and reliability of the noninvasive 17O-MR approach for rapidly imaging CMRO2, CBF and OEF abnormalities in the ischemic cortex of the MCAO mouse brain. It was found that in the ischemic brain regions both CMRO2 and CBF were substantially lower than that of intact brain regions, even for the mildly damaged brain regions that were unable to be clearly identified by the conventional MRI. In contrast, OEF was higher in the MCAO affected brain regions. This study demonstrates a promising 17O MRI technique for imaging abnormal oxygen metabolism and perfusion in the diseased brain regions. This 17O MRI technique is advantageous because of its robustness, simplicity, noninvasiveness and reliability: features that are essential to potentially translate it to human patients for early diagnosis and monitoring of treatment efficacy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Institute of Health grants: NS047592 , NS057560 , NS041262 , NS070839 , P01 NS059560 , P41 RR08079 and P41 EB015894 . The authors would like to thank Professor Kamil Ugurbil (University of Minnesota) and Professor Joseph Ackerman (Washington University) for their support.
- In vivo O MRS imaging