The aim of this study was to establish dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion in peripheral nerves for determination of blood-nerve permeability (Ktrans) and nerve blood volume (NBV) in peripheral neuropathies as compared with healthy controls.
The study was approved by the institutional ethics committee, and written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Forty-three controls (24 women, 19 men; age, 48.7 ± 17.5 years) and 59 patients with peripheral neuropathy (28 women, 31 men; age, 52.7 ± 12.4 years) were examined by a standard protocol including a T1-weighted dynamic contrast-enhanced sequence (time of repetition/time of echo, 4.91/1.64; 10 slices; resolution 0.8 × 0.6 × 3.0 mm3). Time - signal intensity analysis was performed by normalizing to pre–bolus arrival and calculating the mean contrast uptake (MCU) for each patient. Further analyses were performed by customized software to calculate Ktrans and NBV. Statistical analysis included 2-sided Student’s t tests of controls versus patients, receiver operating characteristic analysis, and subgroup analysis of patients according to etiologies of neuropathy.
Time–signal intensity analysis showed significantly increased contrast uptake in patients as compared with controls (MCU, 1.29 ± 0.15 vs 1.18 ± 0.08; P < 0.001). This was caused mainly by an increase in Ktrans (0.046 ± 0.025 vs 0.026 ± 0.016 min−1; P < 0.001) and less by an increase in NBV (3.9 ± 2.6 vs 3.0 ± 1.9 mL/100 mL; P = 0.12). This trend was true for all etiologies except entrapment neuropathies. Excluding these, receiver operating characteristic analysis found an area under the curve of 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.69–0.89) for MCU and 0.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.65–0.90) for Ktrans to discriminate neuropathy from control.
Dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion is a feasible technique to assess Ktrans and NBV in peripheral nerves and may be used in future investigations on peripheral neuropathies.