Vascular mapping of the human hippocampus using Ferumoxytol-enhanced MRI Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The hippocampus is a small but complex grey matter structure that plays an important role in spatial and episodic memory and can be affected by a wide range of pathologies including vascular abnormalities. In this work, we introduce the use of Ferumoxytol, an ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) agent, to induce susceptibility in the arteries (as well as increase the susceptibility in the veins) to map the hippocampal micro-vasculature and to evaluate the quantitative change in tissue fractional vascular density (FVD), in each of its subfields. A total of 39 healthy subjects (aged 35.4 ± 14.2 years, from 18 to 81 years old) were scanned with a high-resolution (0.22×0.44×1 mm3) dual-echo SWI sequence acquired at four time points during a gradual increase in Ferumoxytol dose (final dose = 4 mg/kg). The volumes of each subfield were obtained automatically from the pre-contrast T1-weighted data. The dynamically acquired SWI data were co-registered and adaptively combined to reduce the blooming artifacts from large vessels, preserving the contrast from smaller vessels. The resultant SWI data were used to segment the hippocampal vasculature and to measure the FVD ((volume occupied by vessels)/(total volume)) for each subfield. The hippocampal fissure, along with the fimbria, granular cell layer of the dentate gyrus and cornu ammonis layers (except for CA1), showed higher micro-vascular FVD than the other parts of hippocampus. The CA1 region exhibited a significant correlation with age (R = -0.37, p < 0.05). demonstrating an overall loss of hippocampal vascularity in the normal aging process. Moreover, the vascular density reduction was more prominent than the age correlation with the volume reduction (R = -0.1, p > 0.05) of the CA1 subfield, which would suggest that vascular degeneration may precede tissue atrophy.


  • Buch, Sagar
  • Chen, Yongsheng
  • Jella, Pavan
  • Ge, Yulin
  • Haacke, Mark

publication date

  • April 2022