Wall shear stress (WSS), the frictional force exerted on endothelial cells by blood flow, is hypothesised to influence atherosclerotic plaque growth and composition. We developed a methodology for image registration of MR and histology images of advanced human carotid plaques and corresponding WSS data, obtained by MRI and computational fluid dynamics. The image registration method requires four types of input images, in vivo MRI, ex vivo MRI, photographs of transversally sectioned plaque tissue and histology images. These images are transformed to a shared 3D image domain by applying a combination of rigid and non-rigid registration algorithms. Transformation matrices obtained from registration of these images are used to transform subject-specific WSS data to the shared 3D image domain as well. WSS values originating from the 3D WSS map are visualised in 2D on the corresponding lumen locations in the histological sections and divided into eight radial segments. In each radial segment, the correlation between WSS values and plaque composition based on histological parameters can be assessed. The registration method was successfully applied to two carotid endarterectomy specimens. The resulting matched contours from the imaging modalities had Hausdorff distances between 0.57 and 0.70 mm, which is in the order of magnitude of the in vivo MRI resolution. We simulated the effect of a mismatch in the rigid registration of imaging modalities on WSS results by relocating the WSS data with respect to the stack of histology images. A 0.6 mm relocation altered the mean WSS values projected on radial bins on average by 0.59 Pa, compared to the output of original registration. This mismatch of one image slice did not change the correlation between WSS and plaque thickness. In conclusion, we created a method to investigate correlations between WSS and plaque composition.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217271, hdl.handle.net/1765/117735
Journal PLoS ONE
Moerman, A.M., Dilba, K., Korteland, E.H, Poot, D.H.J, Klein, S, van der Lugt, A, … van der Heiden, K. (2019). An MRI-based method to register patient specific wall shear stress data to histology. PLoS ONE, 14(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0217271