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Introduction: Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is an important physiological parameter that can be quantified non-invasively using arterial spin labelling (ASL) imaging. Although most ASL studies are based on single-timepoint strategies, multi-timepoint approaches (multiple-PLD) in combination with appropriate model fitting strategies may be beneficial not only to improve CBF quantification but also to retrieve other physiological information of interest. Methods: In this work, we tested several kinetic models for the fitting of multiple-PLD pCASL data in a group of 10 healthy subjects. In particular, we extended the standard kinetic model by incorporating dispersion effects and the macrovascular contribution and assessed their individual and combined effect on CBF quantification. These assessments were performed using two pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) datasets acquired in the same subjects but during two conditions mimicking different CBF dynamics: normocapnia and hypercapnia (achieved through a CO2 stimulus). Results: All kinetic models quantified and highlighted the different CBF spatiotemporal dynamics between the two conditions. Hypercapnia led to an increase in CBF whilst decreasing arterial transit time (ATT) and arterial blood volume (aBV). When comparing the different kinetic models, the incorporation of dispersion effects yielded a significant decrease in CBF (∼10-22%) and ATT (∼17-26%), whilst aBV (∼44-74%) increased, and this was observed in both conditions. The extended model that includes dispersion effects and the macrovascular component has been shown to provide the best fit to both datasets. Conclusion: Our results support the use of extended models that include the macrovascular component and dispersion effects when modelling multiple-PLD pCASL data.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Physiol

Publication Date





arterial spin labelling, cerebral blood flow, cerebral haemodynamic, functional MRI, kinetic modelling