Killam Seminar Series: Magnetic Resonance Measures of Brain Blood Vessels, Metabolic Activity, and Pathology in Multiple Sclerosis


Speaker: William D. Rooney, PhD

Professor and Director, Advanced Imaging Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA

Registration: available now on Eventbrite

Livestreaming via Vimeo: Vimeo

Abstract: The normally functioning blood-brain barrier (BBB) regulates the transfer of material between blood and brain. BBB dysfunction has long been recognized in multiple sclerosis (MS), and there is considerable interest in quantifying functional aspects of brain blood vessels and their role in disease progression. Parenchymal water content and its association with volume regulation is important for proper brain function, and is one of the key roles of the BBB. There is convincing evidence that the astrocyte is critical in establishing and maintaining a functional BBB and providing metabolic support to neurons. Increasing evidence suggests that functional interactions between endothelia, pericytes, astrocytes, and neurons, collectively known as the neurovascular unit, contribute to brain water regulation, capillary blood volume and flow, BBB permeability, and are responsive to metabolic demands. Increasing evidence suggests altered metabolism in MS brain which may contribute to reduced neuro-repair and increased neurodegeneration. Metabolically relevant biomarkers may provide sensitive readouts of brain tissue at risk of degeneration, and magnetic resonance offers substantial promise in this regard. Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI combined with appropriate pharmacokinetic modeling allows quantification of distinct features of BBB including permeabilities to contrast agent and water, with rate constants that differ by six orders of magnitude. Mapping of these rate constants provides unique biological aspects of brain vasculature relevant to MS.

The Killam Seminar Series at The Neuro

Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, The Neuro’s Killam Seminar series hosts outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at The Neuro and McGill University.

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Contact Information

Sasha Kelly
Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital
sasha.kelly [at]
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