MRI ischemic and hemorrhagic lesions in arterial and venous territories characterize central nervous system intravascular lymphoma in dogs.
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Intravascular lymphoma (IVL) is characterized by the proliferation of large malignant lymphocytes within the lumen of blood vessels. This retrospective, multi-center, case series study aimed to describe the MRI features of confirmed central nervous system IVL in dogs and compare them with histopathological findings. Medical record databases from seven veterinary centers were searched for cases of histologically confirmed IVL. Dogs were included if an MRI was performed. The MRI studies and histopathology samples were reviewed to compare the MRI changes with the histopathological findings. Twelve dogs met the inclusion criteria (12 brains and three spinal cords). Imaging of the brains revealed multifocal T2-weighted/FLAIR hyperintense and T1-weighted iso-hypointense lesions, with variable contrast enhancement; areas of abnormal diffusion both in arterial and venous territories in diffusion-weighted imaging; and meningeal enhancement. On gradient echo images (GRE), the changes comprised tubular susceptibility artifacts, consistent with the "susceptibility vessel sign", and additional variably sized/shaped intraparenchymal susceptibility artifacts. Spinal cord lesions presented as fusiform T2-weighted hyperintensities with scattered susceptibility artifacts on GRE and variable parenchymal and meningeal contrast enhancement. On histopathology, subarachnoid hemorrhages and neuroparenchymal areas of edema and necrosis, with or without hemorrhage, indicating ischemic and hemorrhagic infarctions, were found. These lesions were concurrent with severely dilated meningeal and parenchymal arteries and veins plugged by neoplastic lymphocytes and fibrin. Due to the unique angiocentric distribution of IVL, ischemic and hemorrhagic infarcts of variable chronicity affecting both the arterial and venous territories associated with thrombi formation can be detected on MRI.