Blood Brain Barrier Breakdown (BBB) following stroke

The extent of blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown can be assessed following stroke using Gadolinium enhanced T1 weighted imaging.  Gadolinium contrast agent is too large to cross the BBB under normal circumstances and will remain intravascular. However, if the barrier is compromised the leakage of contrast will penetrate the parenchyma resuting in an MRI signal change.

Images below show a rat at 3 days following transient MCAO with the top row of images showing the infarct (T2 weighted MRI; red) and the bottom row of images showing the uptake of Gd contrast agent.