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Features and determinants of lacune shape: Relationship with fiber tracts and perforating arteries

Stroke. 2016 Apr 5. pii: STROKEAHA.116.012779. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Gesierich B, Duchesnay E, Jouvent E, Chabriat H, Schmidt R, Mangin JF, Duering M, Dichgans M.
Publication Date: 2016


Lacunes are a major manifestation of cerebral small vessel disease. Although still debated, the morphological features of lacunes may offer mechanistic insights. We systematically analyzed the shape of incident lacunes in cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy, a genetically defined small vessel disease.

A total of 88 incident lacunes from 57 patients were segmented from 3-dimensional T1 magnetic resonance images and 3 dimensionally reconstructed. Anatomic location, diameter, volume, surface area, and compactness of lacunes were assessed. The shape was analyzed using a size, orientation, and position invariant spectral shape descriptor. We further investigated the relationship with perforating arteries and fiber tracts.

Lacunes were most abundant in the centrum semiovale and the basal ganglia. Diameter, volume, and surface area of lacunes in the basal ganglia and centrum semiovale were larger than in other brain regions. The spectral shape descriptor revealed a continuum of shapes with no evidence for distinct classes of lacunes. Shapes varied mostly in elongation and planarity. The main axis and plane of lacunes were found to align with the orientation of perforating arteries but not with fiber tracts.

Elongation and planarity are the primary shape principles of lacunes. Their main axis and plane align with perforating arteries. Our findings add to current concepts on the mechanisms of lacunes.

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