Huijun Chen1, Jianming Cai2, Xihai Zhao1, Thomas S. Hatsukami3, Chun Yuan1, William S. Kerwin1
1Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 2Department of Radiology, PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China; 3Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Inflammation is important in both the pathogenesis and outcome of atherosclerosis. Recently, dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE-MRI) has been shown to be sensitive to inflammatory content within plaque. In this study, we sought to demonstrate the ability of DCE-MRI to provide localized measurements by comparing the transfer constant (Ktrans) of contrast agent uptake across plaque regions with different composition. The result shows that different plaque components are associated with different values of Ktrans. Loose matrix has the highest measured Ktrans due to its loosely organized fibrous tissue with high water content and permeability. In contrast, necrotic core, hemorrhage, and calcification are poorly perfused regions with substantially lowered values of Ktrans. These results suggest that DCE-MRI is able to detect differences in Ktrans within plaque regions with different composition, reflecting the varying vascularities and permeabilities of each region.