Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Experimental Stroke and Comparison With Histology
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Background and Purpose—Because the new era of preclinical stroke research demands improvements in validity and generalizability of findings, moving from single site to multicenter studies could be pivotal. However, the conduct of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in stroke remains ill-defined. We sought to assess the variability in the use of MRI for evaluating lesions post stroke and to examine the possibility as an alternative to gold standard histology for measuring the infarct size.
Methods—We identified animal studies of ischemic stroke reporting lesion sizes using MRI. We assessed the degree of heterogeneity and reporting of scanning protocols, postprocessing methods, study design characteristics, and study quality. Studies performing histological evaluation of infarct size were further selected to compare with corresponding MRI using meta-regression.
Results—Fifty-four articles undertaking a total of 78 different MRI scanning protocols met the inclusion criteria. T2-weighted imaging was most frequently used (83% of the studies), followed by diffusion-weighted imaging (43%). Reporting of the imaging parameters was adequate, but heterogeneity between studies was high. Twelve studies assessed the infarct size using both MRI and histology at corresponding time points, with T2-weighted imaging–based treatment effect having a significant positive correlation with histology (R-2=0.699; P<0.001).
Conclusions—Guidelines for standardized use and reporting of MRI in preclinical stroke are urgently needed. T2-weighted imaging could be used as an effective in vivo alternative to histology for estimating treatment effects based on the extent of infarction; however, additional studies are needed to explore the effect of individual parameters.
- Received September 24, 2014.
- Revision received December 9, 2014.
- Accepted January 7, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.