Exercise-induced calf muscle hyperemia: Quantitative mapping with low-dose dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging Article

Zhang, JL, Layec, G, Hanrahan, C et al. (2019). Exercise-induced calf muscle hyperemia: Quantitative mapping with low-dose dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging . AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-HEART AND CIRCULATORY PHYSIOLOGY, 316(1), H201-H211. 10.1152/ajpheart.00537.2018

cited authors

  • Zhang, JL; Layec, G; Hanrahan, C; Conlin, CC; Hart, C; Hu, N; Khor, L; Mueller, M; Lee, VS



  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) in the lower extremities often leads to intermittent claudication. In the present study, we proposed a low-dose DCE MRI protocol for quantifying calf muscle perfusion stimulated with plantar flexion and multiple new metrics for interpreting perfusion maps, including the ratio of gastrocnemius over soleus perfusion (G/S; for assessing the vascular redistribution between the two muscles) and muscle perfusion normalized by whole body perfusion (for quantifying the muscle’s active hyperemia). Twenty-eight human subjects participated in this Institutional Review Board-approved study, with 10 healthy subjects (group A) for assessing interday reproducibility and 8 healthy subjects (group B) for exploring the relationship between plantar-flexion load and induced muscle perfusion. In a pilot group of five elderly healthy subjects and five patients with PAD (group C), we proposed a protocol that measured perfusion for a low-intensity exercise and for an exhaustion exercise in a single MRI session. In group A, perfusion estimates for calf muscles were highly reproducible, with correlation coefficients of 0.90-0.93. In group B, gastrocnemius perfusion increased linearly with the exercise workload (P < 0.05). With the low-intensity exercise, patients with PAD in group C showed substantially lower gastrocnemius perfusion compared with elderly healthy subjects [43.4 (SD 23.5) vs. 106.7 (SD 73.2) ml·min −1 ·100 g −1 ]. With exhaustion exercise, G/S [1.0 (SD 0.4)] for patients with PAD was lower than both its low-intensity level [1.9 (SD 1.3)] and the level in elderly healthy subjects [2.7 (SD 2.1)]. In conclusion, the proposed MRI protocol and the new metrics are feasible for quantifying exercise-induced muscle hyperemia, a promising functional test of PAD. NEW & NOTEWORTHY To quantitatively map exercise-induced hyperemia in calf muscles, we proposed a high-resolution MRI method shown to be highly reproducible and sensitive to exercise load. With the use of low contrast, it is feasible to measure calf muscle hyperemia for both low-intensity and exhaustion exercises in a single MRI session. The newly proposed metrics for interpreting perfusion maps are promising for quantifying intermuscle vascular redistribution or a muscle’s active hyperemia.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • H201

end page

  • H211


  • 316


  • 1