Spectral Diffusion Analysis of Intravoxel Incoherent Motion MRI in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease

Sau May Wong, Walter H. Backes, Gerhard S. Drenthen, C. Eleana Zhang, Paulien H. M. Voorter, Julie Staals, Robert J. van Oostenbrugge, Jacobus F. A. Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Cerebral intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) imaging assumes two components. However, more compartments are likely present in pathologic tissue. We hypothesized that spectral analysis using a nonnegative least-squares (NNLS) approach can detect an additional, intermediate diffusion component, distinct from the parenchymal and microvascular components, in lesion-prone regions. Purpose To investigate the presence of this intermediate diffusion component and its relation with cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD)-related lesions. Study Type Prospective cross-sectional study. Population Patients with cSVD (n = 69, median age 69.8) and controls (n = 39, median age 68.9). Field Strength/Sequence Whole-brain inversion recovery IVIM acquisition at 3.0T. Assessment Enlarged perivascular spaces (PVS) were rated by three raters. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) were identified on a fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) image using a semiautomated algorithm. Statistical Tests Relations between IVIM measures and cSVD-related lesions were studied using the Spearman's rank order correlation. Results NNLS yielded diffusion spectra from which the intermediate volume fraction f(int) was apparent between parenchymal diffusion and microvasular pseudodiffusion. WMH volume and the extent of MRI-visible enlarged PVS in the basal ganglia (BG) and centrum semiovale (CSO) were correlated with f(int) in the WMHs, BG, and CSO, respectively. f(int) was 4.2 +/- 1.7%, 7.0 +/- 4.1% and 13.6 +/- 7.7% in BG and 3.9 +/- 1.3%, 4.4 +/- 1.4% and 4.5 +/- 1.2% in CSO for the groups with low, moderate, and high number of enlarged PVS, respectively, and increased with the extent of enlarged PVS (BG: r = 0.49, P <0.01; CSO: r = 0.23, P = 0.02). f(int) in the WMHs was 27.1 +/- 13.1%, and increased with the WMH volume (r = 0.57, P <0.01). Data Conclusion We revealed the presence of an intermediate diffusion component in lesion-prone regions of cSVD and demonstrated its relation with enlarged PVS and WMHs. In tissue with these lesions, tissue degeneration or perivascular edema can lead to more freely diffusing interstitial fluid contributing to f(int). Technical Efficacy: Stage 2 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1180
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • cerebral small vessel disease
  • MRI
  • glymphatic system
  • diffusion magnetic resonance imaging


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