Despite the growing concern about the safety of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs), they are still the most commonly used. Ferumoxytol, as an off-label alternative MRI contrast agent, cannot be administered by a rapid bolus for dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion-weighted imaging (DSC-PWI).
To assess the feasibility of iron sucrose (IS) as a contrast agent for MR angiography (MRA) and DSC-PWI.
Prospective animal model.
Thirty-six normal rats (16 for MRA, 20 for biocompability tests) and 36 occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) model rats.
3.0T; head and neck angiography, using a fast spoiled gradient-recalled-echo (FSPGR) sequence and DSC-MRI using echo planar imaging(EPI) sequence.
MRA was performed on normal rats to examine the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of different doses of IS. DSC-PWI was performed on MCAO rats at 0, 24, 48, and 72 hours postreperfusion to investigate the lesion detectability of IS. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) and DSC-PWI enhanced by GBCAs were conducted on MCAO rats as controls.
Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare qualitative assessment. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the parametric data. Pearson’s r values were evaluated between relative cerebral blood flow(rCBF)-ASL, rCBF-DSC , and rCBF obtained from DSC-PWI enhanced by GBCA.
The mean SNR and CNR of the common carotid artery at doses of 10 mg Fe/kg of IS were comparable with the standard dose of GBCAs (SNR: 68.04 ± 12.55 vs. 67.72 ± 14.66; CNR: 23.78 ± 7.21vs. 21.63 ± 6.83). In MCAO rat models, rCBF and relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) of ipsilateral striatum declined (0.72 ± 0.14, 0.86 ± 0.11) with prolonged relative mean transit time (rMTT) and relative time-to-peak (rTTP) (1.27 ± 0.24, 1.07 ± 0.03) following occlusion. Hyperperfusion was observed in all rats at 48 and 72 hours postreperfusion, in 4/6 rats at 24 hours postreperfusion for IS-mediated DSC-PWI.
IS may be an effective contrast agent for both MRA and DSC-PWI in ischemic stroke models.

© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.