Localized high-resolution diffusion tensor images (DTI) from the midbrain were obtained using reduced field-of-view (rFOV) methods combined with SENSE parallel imaging and single-shot echo planar (EPI) acquisitions at 7T. This combination aimed to diminish sensitivities of DTI to motion, susceptibility variations, and EPI artifacts at ultra-high field. Outer-volume suppression (OVS) was applied in DTI acquisitions at 2- and 1-mm(2) resolutions, b=1000s/mm(2), and six diffusion directions, resulting in scans of 7- and 14-min durations. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured in various fiber tract locations at the two resolutions and compared. Geometric distortion and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were additionally measured and compared for reduced-FOV and full-FOV DTI scans. Up to an eight-fold data reduction was achieved using DTI-OVS with SENSE at 1mm(2), and geometric distortion was halved. The localization of fiber tracts was improved, enabling targeted FA and ADC measurements. Significant differences in diffusion properties were observed between resolutions for a number of regions suggesting that FA values are impacted by partial volume effects even at a 2-mm(2) resolution. The combined SENSE DTI-OVS approach allows large reductions in DTI data acquisition and provides improved quality for high-resolution diffusion studies of the human brain.
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