Paediatrics Publications

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NeuroImage: Clinical

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Background: Advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and related disorders, along with the development of novel candidate disease modifying treatments, have stimulated the need for tools to assess the efficacy of new therapies. While perfusion imaging by arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an attractive approach for longitudinal imaging biomarkers of neurodegeneration, sources of variability between sessions including arterial transit times (ATT) and fluctuations in resting perfusion can reduce its sensitivity. Establishing the magnitude of perfusion changes that can be reliably detected is necessary to delineate longitudinal perfusion changes related to disease processes from the effects of these sources of error. Purpose: To assess the feasibility of ASL for longitudinal monitoring of patients with FTD by quantifying between-session variability of perfusion on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Methods and materials: ASL data were collected in 13 healthy controls and 8 patients with FTD or progressive supra-nuclear palsy. Variability in cerebral blood flow (CBF) by single delay pseudo-continuous ASL (SD-pCASL) acquired one month apart were quantified by the coefficient of variation (CV) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Additionally, CBF by SD-pCASL and ATT by low-resolution multiple inversion time ASL (LowRes-pCASL) were compared to Hadamard encoded sequences which are able to simultaneously measure CBF and ATT with improved time-efficiency. Results: Agreement of grey-matter perfusion between sessions was found for both patients and controls (CV = 10.8% and 8.3% respectively) with good reliability for both groups (ICC > 0.6). Intensity normalization to remove day-to-day fluctuations in resting perfusion reduced the CV by 28%. Less than 5% of voxels had ATTs above the chosen post labelling delay (2 s), indicating that the ATT was not a significant source of error. Hadamard-encoded perfusion imaging yielded systematically higher CBF compared to SD-pCASL, but produced similar transit-time measurements. Power analysis revealed that SD-pCASL has the sensitivity to detect longitudinal changes as low as 10% with as few as 10 patient participants. Conclusion: With the appropriate labeling parameters, SD-pCASL is a promising approach for assessing longitudinal changes in CBF associated with FTD.

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