DTI at long diffusion time improves fiber tracking.

Rane S, Nair G, Duong TQ
NMR Biomed. 2010 23 (5): 459-65

PMID: 20175137 · PMCID: PMC2949954 · DOI:10.1002/nbm.1482

While diffusion-tensor-imaging tractography provides remarkable in vivo anatomical connectivity of the central nervous system, the majority of DTI studies to date are predominantly limited to tracking large white-matter fibers. This study investigated DTI tractography using long diffusion time (t(diff)) to improve tracking of thinner fibers in fixed rhesus monkey brains. Stimulated Echo Acquisition Mode (STEAM) sequence on a 3T Siemens TRIO was modified to include a diffusion module. DTI was acquired using STEAM with t(diff) of 48 and 192 ms with matched signal-to-noise ratios (SNR). Comparisons were also made with the conventional double-spin echo (DSE) at a short t(diff) of 45 ms. Not only did the fractional anisotropy increase significantly with the use of long diffusion time, but directional entropy measures indicated that there was an increased coherence amongst neighboring tensors. Further, the magnitude of the major eigenvector was larger at the t(diff) = 192 ms as compared to the short t(diff). Probabilistic connectivity maps at long t(diff) showed larger areas of connectivity with the use of long diffusion time, which traversed deeper into areas of low anisotropy. With tractography, it was found that the length of the fibers, increased by almost 10% in the callosal fibers that branch into the paracentral gyrus, the precentral gyrus and the post central gyrus. A similar increase of about 20% was observed in the fibers of the internal capsule. These findings offer encouraging data that DTI at long diffusion time could improve tract tracing of small fibers in areas of low fractional anisotropy (FA), such as at the interfaces of white matter and grey matter.

MeSH Terms (12)

Animals Anisotropy Diffusion Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging Diffusion Tensor Imaging Entropy Macaca mulatta Nerve Fibers Nerve Net Phantoms, Imaging Time Factors Tissue Fixation

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