Characterization of MR imaging-visible perivascular spaces in the white matter of healthy adolescents at 3T

J. Piantino, Erin Boespflug, D. L. Schwartz, M. Luther, A. M. Morales, A. Lin, R. V. Fossen, L. Silbert, B. J. Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Perivascular spaces play a role in cerebral waste removal and neuroinflammation. Our aim was to provide data regarding the burden of MR imaging-visible perivascular spaces in white matter in healthy adolescents using an automated segmentation method and to establish relationships between common demographic characteristics and perivascular space burden. Materials and Methods: One hundred eighteen 12- to 21-year-old subjects underwent T1- and T2-weighted 3T MR imaging as part of the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence. Perivascular spaces were identified in WM on T2-weighted imaging using a local heterogeneity approach coupled with morphologic constraints, and their spatial distribution and geometric characteristics were assessed. Results: MR imaging-visible perivascular spaces were identified in all subjects (range, 16-287). Males had a significantly higher number of perivascular spaces than females: males, mean, 98.4 ± 50.5, versus females, 70.7 ± 36.1, (P,.01). Perivascular space burden was bilaterally symmetric (r>0.4, P<.01), and perivascular spaces were more common in the frontal and parietal lobes than in the temporal and occipital lobes (P<.01). Age and pubertal status were not significantly associated with perivascular space burden. Conclusions: Despite a wide range of burden, perivascular spaces are present in all healthy adolescents. Perivascular space burden is higher in adolescent males than in females, regardless of age and pubertal status. In this population, perivascular spaces are highly symmetric. Although widely reported as a feature of the aging brain, awareness of the presence of perivascular spaces in a cohort of healthy adolescents provides the foundation for further research regarding the role of these structural variants in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2139-2145
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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