Amide proton transfer MRI signal as a surrogate biomarker of ischemic stroke recovery in patients with supportive treatment

Lu Yu, Yuhui Chen, Min Chen, Xiaojie Luo, Shanshan Jiang, Yi Zhang, Haibo Chen, Tao Gong, Jinyuan Zhou, Chunmei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Amide proton transfer (APT) MR imaging has shown great potential in the evaluation of stroke severity because of its sensitivity to acid environments. However, this promising MRI technique has not been used to assess treatment efficacy with regard to stroke recovery. Purpose: To assess the therapeutic effect of supportive treatment in ischemic stroke patients using the pH-sensitive APT MRI technique. Material and Methods: Forty-three ischemic stroke patients at an early stage were recruited and scanned with conventional and APT MRI sequences at 3T before treatment. After treatment, 26 patients underwent a follow-up MRI scan (one to three times on different days). The magnetization-transfer-ratio asymmetry at 3.5 ppm, usually called the APT-weighted (APTW) signal, was measured. The APTW signal changes following treatment were analyzed. Results: Baseline APTW signal intensities in the infarcted lesions inversely correlated with baseline stroke severity. Lesion APTW values gradually increased with time in 24 cases (92.3%) with a follow-up MRI scan, showing clinical symptom improvements. Two cases (7.7%) showed further decreased APTW signal in the follow-up scan, accompanied by clinical symptom aggravation. Compared to the baseline, significant APTW signal increases were found for all post-treatment patients (efficacious), whether based on post-treatment or on stroke onset times. The increase in APTW signal in the ischemic stroke lesion after treatment was associated with an improvement in clinical symptoms. Conclusion: The APTW signal would be a useful imaging biomarker by which to assess the therapeutic efficacy of ischemic stroke treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2019


  • APT
  • Acidosis
  • Infarction
  • Ischemia
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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