GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology


Department of Radiology

First Thesis Advisor

Mitchell S. Albert, Ph.D.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Vascular Diseases, Blood Volume Determination


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as the imaging modality of choice in a wide variety experimental and clinical applications. In this dissertation, I will describe novel MRI techniques for the characterization of neural and pulmonary vascular function in preclinical models of disease.

In the first part of this dissertation, experimental results will be presented comparing the identification of ischemic lesions in experimental stroke using dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) and a well validated arterial spin labeling (ASL). We show that DSC measurements of an index of cerebral blood flow are sensitive to ischemia, treatment, and stroke subregions. Further, we derived a threshold of cerebral blood flow for ischemia as measured by DSC. Finally, we show that ischemic lesion volumes as defined by DSC are comparable to those defined by ASL.

In the second part of this dissertation, a methodology of visualizing clots in experimental animal models of stroke is presented. Clots were rendered visible by MRI through the addition of a gadolinium based contrast agent during formation. Modified clots were used to induce an experimental embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion. Clots in the cerebral vasculature were visualized in vivousing MRI. Further, the efficacy of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA) and the combination of r-tPA and recombinant annexin-2 (rA2) was characterized by clot visualization during lysis.

In the third part of this dissertation, we present results of the application of hyperpolarized helium (HP-He) in the characterization of new model of experimental pulmonary ischemia. The longitudinal relaxation time of HP-He is sensitive to the presence of paramagnetic oxygen. During ischemia, oxygen exchange from the airspaces of the lungs to the capillaries is hindered resulting in increased alveolar oxygen content which resulted in the shortening of the HP-He longitudinal relaxation time. Results of measurements of the HP-He relaxation time in both normal and ischemic animals are presented.

In the final part of this dissertation, I will present results of a new method to measure pulmonary blood volume (PBV) using proton based MRI. A T1 weighted, inversion recovery spin echo sequence with cardiac and respiratory gating was developed to measure the changes in signal intensity of lung parenchyma before and after the injection of a long acting intravascular contrast agent. PBV is related to the signal change in the lung parenchyma and blood before and after contrast agent. We validate our method using a model of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in rats.


Joint Ph.D. degree from both UMass Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.



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