Sleep and Rhythms Projects

Novel magnetic resonance KTRANS measurement of blood-brain barrier permeability correlated with covert HE

Chaganti J, Zeng G, Tun N, Lockart I, Abdelshaheed C, Cysique L, Montagnese S, Brew BJ, Danta M

HE Hepatol Commun

Background: Using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MR perfusion and MR spectroscopy this study aimed to characterize the blood-brain barrier permeability and metabolite changes in patients with cirrhosis and without covert HE.

Methods: Covert HE was defined using psychometric HE score (PHES). The participants were stratified into 3 groups: cirrhosis with covert HE (CHE) (PHES<-4); cirrhosis without HE (NHE) (PHES≥-4); and healthy controls (HC). Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI and MRS were performed to assess KTRANS, a metric derivative of blood-brain barrier disruption, and metabolite parameters. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS (v25).

Results: A total of 40 participants (mean age 63 y; male 71%) were recruited as follows: CHE (n=17); NHE (n=13); and HC (n=10). The KTRANS measurement in the frontoparietal cortex demonstrated increased blood-brain barrier permeability, where KTRANS was 0.01±0.02 versus 0.005±0.005 versus 0.004±0.002 in CHE, NHE, and HC patients, respectively (p = 0.032 comparing all 3 groups). Relative to HC with a value of 0.28, the parietal glutamine/creatine (Gln/Cr) ratio was significantly higher in both CHE 1.12 mmoL (p < 0.001); and NHE 0.49 (p = 0.04). Lower PHES scores correlated with higher glutamine/Cr (Gln/Cr) (r=-0.6; p < 0.001) and lower myo-inositol/Cr (mI/Cr) (r=0.6; p < 0.001) and lower choline/Cr (Cho/Cr) (r=0.47; p = 0.004).

Conclusion: The dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI KTRANS measurement revealed increased blood-brain barrier permeability in the frontoparietal cortex. The MRS identified a specific metabolite signature with increased glutamine, reduced myo-inositol, and choline, which correlated with CHE in this region. The MRS changes were identifiable in the NHE cohort.

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