BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The effect of white matter hyperintensities as measured by FLAIR MR imaging on functional impairment and recovery after ischemic stroke has been investigated thoroughly. However, there has been growing interest in investigating normal-appearing white matter microstructural integrity following ischemic stroke onset with techniques such as DTI. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty-two patients with acute ischemic stroke and 36 without stroke were evaluated with a DTI and FLAIR imaging protocol and clinically assessed for the severity of motor impairment using the Motricity Index within 72 hours of suspected symptom onset. RESULTS: There were widespread decreases in fractional anisotropy and increases in mean diffusivity and radial diffusivity for the acute stroke group compared with the nonstroke group. There was a significant positive association between fractional anisotropy and motor function and a significant negative association between mean diffusivity/radial diffusivity and motor function. The normal-appearing white matter ROIs that were most sensitive to the Motricity Index were the anterior/posterior limb of the internal capsule in the infarcted hemisphere and the splenium of the corpus callosum, external capsule, posterior limb/retrolenticular part of the internal capsule, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and cingulum (hippocampus) of the intrahemisphere/contralateral hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS: The microstructural integrity of normal-appearing white matter is a significant parameter to identify neural differences not only between those individuals with and without acute ischemic stroke but also correlated with the severity of acute motor impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology