The spectrum of MR detectable cortical microinfarcts: A classification study with 7-tesla postmortem MRI and histopathology

Susanne J. Van Veluw, Jaco J.M. Zwanenburg, Annemieke J.M. Rozemuller, Peter R. Luijten, Wim G.M. Spliet, Geert Jan Biessels

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Cerebral microinfarcts (CMIs) are common neuropathologic findings in aging and dementia. We explored the spectrum of cortical CMIs that can be visualized with 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Thirty-three coronal brain slices of 11 individuals with neuropathologically confirmed dementia were subjected to a high-resolution postmortem 7T MRI protocol. First, we identified all visible small (≤5 mm) intracortical and juxtacortical lesions on postmortem MRI. Lesions were classified as CMI or nonCMI based on histology, and their MR features were recorded. Thirty lesions were identified on the initial MRI evaluation, of which twenty-three could be matched with histology. Histopathology classified 12 lesions as CMIs, all of which were located intracortically. On the basis of their MR features, they could be classified as chronic gliotic CMIs - with or without cavitation or hemorrhagic components - and acute CMIs. Eleven MRI identified lesions were not of ischemic nature and most commonly enlarged or atypically shaped perivascular spaces. Their MRI features were similar to gliotic CMIs with or without cavitation, but these 'CMI mimics' were always located juxtacortically. 7T postmortem MRI distinguishes different histopathologic types of cortical CMIs, with distinctive MR characteristics. On the basis of our findings, we propose in vivo rating criteria for the detection of intracortical CMIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015


  • 7-tesla MRI
  • dementia
  • histopathology
  • microinfarcts
  • postmortem
  • small vessel disease

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