2015 Volume 55 Issue 8 Pages 657-662
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can depict not only anatomical information, but also physiological factors such as velocity and pressure gradient. Measurement of these physiological factors is necessary to understand the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) environment. In this study we quantified CSF motion in various parts of the CSF space, determined changes in the CSF environment with aging, and compared CSF pressure gradient between patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) and healthy elderly volunteers. Fifty-seven healthy volunteers and six iNPH patients underwent four-dimensional (4D) phase-contrast (PC) MRI. CSF motion was observed and the pressure gradient of CSF was quantified in the CSF space. In healthy volunteers, inhomogeneous CSF motion was observed whereby the pressure gradient markedly increased in the center of the skull and gradually decreased in the periphery of the skull. For example, the pressure gradient at the ventral surface of the brainstem was 6.6 times greater than that at the convexity of the cerebrum. The pressure gradient was statistically unchanged with aging. The pressure gradient of patients with iNPH was 3.2 times greater than that of healthy volunteers. The quantitative analysis of 4D-PC MRI data revealed that the pressure gradient of CSF can be used to understand the CSF environment, which is not sufficiently given by subjective impression of the anatomical image.