Article Text

Download PDFPDF
MR diffusion and perfusion parameters: relationship to metabolites in acute ischaemic stroke
  1. Vera Cvoro1,
  2. Ian Marshall2,4,
  3. Paul A Armitage1,4,
  4. Mark E Bastin2,4,
  5. Trevor Carpenter1,4,
  6. Carly S Rivers3,
  7. Martin S Dennis1,
  8. Joanna M Wardlaw1,4
  1. 1Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Division of Medical Physics, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  4. 4SINAPSE Collaboration (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence)
  1. Correspondence to Professor Joanna M Wardlaw, SFC Brain Imaging Research Centre, SINAPSE Collaboration, Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Western General Hospital, Crewe Rd, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK; joanna.wardlaw{at}


Background Magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion and perfusion imaging are used to identify ischaemic penumbra, but there are few comparisons with neuronal loss and ischaemia in vivo. The authors compared N-acetyl aspartate (NAA, found in intact neurons) and lactate (anaerobic metabolism) with diffusion/perfusion parameters.

Methods The authors prospectively recruited patients with acute ischaemic stroke and performed MR diffusion tensor, perfusion (PWI) and proton chemical shift spectroscopic imaging (CSI). We superimposed a 0.5 cm voxel grid on the diffusion-weighted images (DWI) and classified voxels as ‘definitely abnormal,’ ‘possibly abnormal’ or normal on DWI appearance, and ‘mismatch’ for voxels in DWI/PWI mismatch areas. The authors compared metabolite (NAA, lactate), perfusion and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in each voxel type.

Results NAA differentiated ‘definitely’ from ‘possibly abnormal,’ and ‘possibly abnormal’ from ‘mismatch’ (both comparisons p<0.01) voxels, but not ‘mismatch’ from ‘normal’ voxels. Lactate was highest in ‘definitely abnormal,’ and progressively lower in ‘possibly abnormal,’ ‘mismatch,’ than ‘normal’ voxels (all differences p<0.01). There was no correlation between NAA and ADC or PWI values, but high lactate correlated with low ADC (Spearman r=−0.41, p=0.02) and prolonged mean transit time (Spearman r=0.42, p=0.02).

Conclusion ADC and mean transit time indicate the presence of ischaemia (lactate) but not cumulative total neuronal damage (NAA) in acute ischaemic stroke, suggesting that caution is required if using ADC and PWI parameters to differentiate salvageable from non-salvageable tissue. Further refinement of the DWI/PWI concept is required prior to more widespread use.

  • Acute ischaemic stroke
  • diffusion imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • penumbra
  • perfusion imaging
  • MRS
  • stroke
  • MRI

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding The Stroke Association, London, UK. The Chief Scientist Office (ref C2B/4/14), the Row Fogo Charitable Trust (PLA) and the Cohen Charitable Trust (TC). The SINAPSE Collaboration (Scottish Imaging Network. A Platform for Scientific Excellence, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive provided part funding for JMW and supported the SFC Brain Imaging Research Centre ( where the work was performed. CSR was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Lloyds TSB Foundation.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Local Research Ethics Committee (Lothian).

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.