Early Ultrafast Ultrasound Imaging of Cerebral Perfusion correlates with Ischemic Stroke outcomes and responses to treatment in Mice
In the field of ischemic cerebral injury, precise characterization of neurovascular hemodynamic is required to select candidates for reperfusion treatments. It is thus admitted that advanced imaging-based approaches would be able to better diagnose and prognose those patients and would contribute to better clinical care. Current imaging modalities like MRI allow a precise diagnostic of cerebral injury but suffer from limited availability and transportability. The recently developed ultrafast ultrasound could be a powerful tool to perform emergency imaging and long term follow-up of cerebral perfusion, which could, in combination with MRI, improve imaging solutions for neuroradiologists.
Methods: In this study, in a model of in situ thromboembolic stroke in mice, we compared a control group of non-treated mice (N=10) with a group receiving the gold standard pharmacological stroke therapy (N=9). We combined the established tool of magnetic resonance imaging (7T MRI) with two innovative ultrafast ultrasound methods, ultrafast Doppler and Ultrasound Localization Microscopy, to image the cerebral blood volumes at early and late times after stroke onset and compare with the formation of ischemic lesions.
Results: Our study shows that ultrafast ultrasound can be used through the mouse skull to monitor cerebral perfusion during ischemic stroke. In our data, the monitoring of the reperfusion following thrombolytic within the first 2 h post stroke onset matches ischemic lesions measured 24 h. Moreover, similar results can be made with Ultrasound Localization Microscopy which could make it applicable to human patients in the future.
Conclusion: We thus provide the proof of concept that in a mouse model of thromboembolic stroke with an intact skull, early ultrafast ultrasound can be indicative of responses to treatment and cerebral tissue fates following stroke. It brings new tools to study ischemic stroke in preclinical models and is the first step prior translation to the clinical settings.