Diffusion Tensor MRI Reveals Chronic Alterations in White Matter Despite the Absence of a Visible Ischemic Lesion on Conventional MRI
A Nonhuman Primate Study
Background and Purpose—The impact of stroke on white matter is poorly described in preclinical investigations mainly based on rodents with a low white (WM)/gray matter ratio. Using diffusion tensor imaging, we evaluated WM alterations and correlated them with sensorimotor deficits after stroke in the marmoset, a nonhuman primate that displays a WM/gray matter ratio close to that of humans.
Methods—Marmosets underwent a transient brain ischemia (3-hour). Eight serial MRI examinations were made during ischemia and up to 45 days after reperfusion. The sensorimotor deficits were evaluated weekly over 45 days. To assess WM alterations, the SD of the angle of the first eigenvector projection was calculated in the cortex and in the internal and external capsules. The fiber-tracking approach was used to measure the number and the length of bundles.
Results—Changes in the apparent diffusion coefficient and the fractional anisotropy values were similar during the temporal evolution of the lesion in the marmoset model of ischemia to that reported in patients with stroke. Despite an absence of visible lesions on T2-MRI and diffusion tensor imaging at the chronic stage, diffusion tensor MRI evidenced alterations in WM by the increase in the standard deviation of the angle of the first eigenvector projection in the cortex, internal and external capsules, and the decrease in the number of bundles of fibers tracked. The disruption of WM was strongly correlated with the chronic sensorimotor deficits.
Conclusions—Despite an absence of a visible ischemic lesion at the chronic stage, diffusion tensor MRI revealed disorganization of WM, which probably underlies the persistence of functional deficits.
- Received July 13, 2010.
- Revision received November 8, 2010.
- Accepted December 8, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.