Characterization of lenticulostriate arteries with high resolution black-blood T1-weighted turbo spin echo with variable flip angles at 3 and 7 Tesla

Samantha J. Ma, Mona Sharifi Sarabi, Lirong Yan, Xingfeng Shao, Yue Chen, Qi Yang, Kay Jann, Arthur W. Toga, Yonggang Shi, Danny J.J. Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: The lenticulostriate arteries (LSAs) with small diameters of a few hundred microns take origin directly from the high flow middle cerebral artery (MCA), making them especially susceptible to damage (e.g. by hypertension). This study aims to present high resolution (isotropic ∼0.5 mm), black blood MRI for the visualization and characterization of LSAs at both 3 T and 7 T. Materials and methods: T1-weighted 3D turbo spin-echo with variable flip angles (T1w TSE-VFA) sequences were optimized for the visualization of LSAs by performing extended phase graph (EPG) simulations. Twenty healthy volunteers (15 under 35 years old, 5 over 60 years old) were imaged with the T1w TSE-VFA sequences at both 3 T and 7 T. Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was quantified, and LSAs were manually segmented using ITK-SNAP. Automated Reeb graph shape analysis was performed to extract features including vessel length and tortuosity. All quantitative metrics were compared between the two field strengths and two age groups using ANOVA. Results: LSAs can be clearly delineated using optimized 3D T1w TSE-VFA at 3 T and 7 T, and a greater number of LSA branches can be detected compared to those by time-of-flight MR angiography (TOF MRA) at 7 T. The CNR of LSAs was comparable between 7 T and 3 T. T1w TSE-VFA showed significantly higher CNR than TOF MRA at the stem portion of the LSAs branching off the medial middle cerebral artery. The mean vessel length and tortuosity were greater on TOF MRA compared to TSE-VFA. The number of detected LSAs by both TSE-VFA and TOF MRA was significantly reduced in aged subjects, while the mean vessel length measured on 7 T TSE-VFA showed significant difference between the two age groups. Conclusion: The high-resolution black-blood 3D T1w TSE-VFA sequence offers a new method for the visualization and quantification of LSAs at both 3 T and 7 T, which may be applied for a number of pathological conditions related to the damage of LSAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 7T
  • Black blood MRI
  • Lenticulostriate artery (LSA)
  • Subcortical vascular dementia
  • Turbo spin echo with variable flip angles (TSE VFA)
  • Ultrahigh magnetic field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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