Arterial spin labelling reveals prolonged arterial arrival time in idiopathic Parkinson's disease

Sarah Al-Bachari, Laura M Parkes, Rishma Vidyasagar, Martha F Hanby, Vivek Tharaken, Iracema Leroi, Hedley C A Emsley
NeuroImage: Clinical 2014, 6: 1-8
Idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, yet effective disease modifying treatments are still lacking. Neurodegeneration involves multiple interacting pathological pathways. The extent to which neurovascular mechanisms are involved is not well defined in IPD. We aimed to determine whether novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, including arterial spin labelling (ASL) quantification of cerebral perfusion, can reveal altered neurovascular status (NVS) in IPD. Fourteen participants with IPD (mean ± SD age 65.1 ± 5.9 years) and 14 age and cardiovascular risk factor matched control participants (mean ± SD age 64.6 ± 4.2 years) underwent a 3T MRI scan protocol. ASL images were collected before, during and after a 6 minute hypercapnic challenge. FLAIR images were used to determine white matter lesion score. Quantitative images of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and arterial arrival time (AAT) were calculated from the ASL data both at rest and during hypercapnia. Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) images were calculated, depicting the change in CBF and AAT relative to the change in end-tidal CO2. A significant (p = 0.005) increase in whole brain averaged baseline AAT was observed in IPD participants (mean ± SD age 1532 ± 138 ms) compared to controls (mean ± SD age 1335 ± 165 ms). Voxel-wise analysis revealed this to be widespread across the brain. However, there were no statistically significant differences in white matter lesion score, CBF, or CVR between patients and controls. Regional CBF, but not AAT, in the IPD group was found to correlate positively with Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) scores. These findings provide further evidence of alterations in NVS in IPD.

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