Relationship between Cerebral Vasculature and Brain Stiffness Measured Using MR Elastography

Ahmed Alshareef, Curtis L. Johnson, Aaron Carass, Andrew K. Knutsen, Peyton L. Delgorio, Grace McIlvain, Alexa M. Diano, K. T. Ramesh, Philip V. Bayly, Dzung L. Pham, Jerry L. Prince

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Modeling brain tissue mechanics is important for understanding the pathogenesis of traumatic brain injury, with models often including brain tissue geometry and microstructural features like white matter fiber orientation. Recently, the cerebral vasculature has been included in models, however the effect of cerebral vessels on the mechanical response of the brain is unclear. A dataset of 23 subjects that includes structural MRI, angiography, and mechanical neuroimaging using magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) was collected to determine if there is a dependence of vasculature on in vivo brain mechanical properties. A pipeline was implemented using existing methods for processing anatomical, angiography, and MRE images; all images were co-registered for each subject and transformed to a common space. The regional mean stiffness and damping ratio of the brain, by anatomical segmentation, showed no dependence on vessel density but showed heterogeneity across the brain. A sub-regional analysis after stratifying by MRE stiffness showed a strong positive correlation in the cortical gray matter (R2=0.69) and a strong negative correlation in the deep gray matter (R2=0.76). Other regions showed similar trends with R2 values below 0.54. The opposite trends could be a result of regional microstructure difference, or a dependence on vessel type and size. A similar analysis using the brain damping ratio showed no dependence of vasculature on brain viscous properties. Quantifying the dependence of brain mechanical properties on vasculature will aid in understanding the biomechanics of the brain and inform their use in computational models of brain injury.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2022
Subtitle of host publicationBiomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
EditorsBarjor S. Gimi, Andrzej Krol
ISBN (Electronic)9781510649477
StatePublished - 2022
EventMedical Imaging 2022: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging - Virtual, Online
Duration: Mar 21 2022Mar 27 2022

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2022: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
CityVirtual, Online


  • Magnetic resonance elastography
  • angiography
  • traumatic brain injury
  • vasculature


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