This study was conducted to explore the diagnostic value of arterial spin labeling (ASL) combined with diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) in characterizing the spatiotemporal progression of infarct lesions in a rabbit middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model and predicting the acute cerebral infarction (ACI) volume.
Forty-two male rabbits (2.9 ± 0.2 kg body weight) were used in this experimental study. Animals were initially anesthetized by intravenous injection of uratan. There were seven experimental groups with six rabbits in each group. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) thresholds were established in the control group (n = 6), which were sacrificed at 12 h, stained for infarct volume, and imaged at each time point.
The normal ADC and CBF were estimated as 0.90 ± 0.03 × 10 mm/s and 0.68 ± 0.06 mL g min, respectively. The viability thresholds of ADC and CBF yielding the lesion volumes (LVs) at 3 h, which best approximated the 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) infarct volumes at 12 h, were 0.52 ± 0.02 × 10 mm/s (42.2 ± 3% reduction) and 0.33 ± 0.09 mL g min (51.0 ± 11% reduction), respectively. The temporal evolution of the ADC- and CBF-defined LVs showed a significant perfusion/diffusion mismatch up to 1 h (p = 0.001).
ADC values and ACI volumes were positively correlated, while CBF was negatively correlated, which is supposed to be a reference for predicting ACI volume.

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