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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 540217, 7 pages
Research Article

Middle Cerebral Artery Atherosclerotic Plaques in Recent Small Subcortical Infarction: A Three-Dimensional High-resolution MR Study

1Department of Neurology, Xuan Wu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China
2Paul C. Lauterbur Research Center for Biomedical Imaging, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, China
3Beijing Key Laboratory of Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, Beijing 100053, China
4Neurodegenerative Laboratory of Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing 100053, China
5Department of Radiology, Xuan Wu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China

Received 21 June 2015; Accepted 16 August 2015

Academic Editor: Robert M. Starke

Copyright © 2015 Xiao-Dong Zou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Conventional two-dimensional vessel wall imaging has been used to depict the middle cerebral artery (MCA) wall in patients with recent small subcortical infarctions (RSSIs). However, its clinical use has been limited by restricted spatial coverage, low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and long scan time. We used a novel three-dimensional high-resolution MR imaging (3D HR-MRI) technique to investigate the presence, locations, and contrast-enhanced patterns of MCA plaques and their relationship with RSSI. Methods. Nineteen consecutive patients with RSSI but no luminal stenosis on MR angiography were prospectively enrolled. 3D HR-MRI was performed using a T1w-SPACE sequence at 3.0 T. The presence, locations, and contrast-enhanced patterns of the MCA plaques on the ipsilateral and contralateral sides to the RSSI were analyzed. Results. Eighteen patients successfully completed the study. MCA atherosclerotic plaques occurred more frequently on the ipsilateral than the contralateral side to the RSSI (72.2% versus 33.3%, ). The occurrence of superiorly located plaques was significantly higher on the ipsilateral than the contralateral side of the MCA (66.7% versus 27.8%; ). Conclusions. Superiorly located plaques are closely associated with RSSI. 3D high-resolution vessel wall imaging may be a potential tool for etiologic assessment of ischemic stroke.