PURPOSE - A new approach has been developed to quantify cell sizes and intracellular volume fractions using temporal diffusion spectroscopy with diffusion-weighted acquisitions.
METHODS - Temporal diffusion spectra may be used to characterize tissue microstructure by measuring the effects of restrictions over a range of diffusion times. Oscillating gradients have been used previously to probe variations on cellular and subcellular scales, but their ability to accurately measure cell sizes larger than 10 μm is limited. By combining measurements made using oscillating gradient spin echo (OGSE) and a conventional pulsed gradient spin echo (PGSE) acquisition with a single, relatively long diffusion time, we can accurately quantify cell sizes and intracellular volume fractions.
RESULTS - Based on a two compartment model (incorporating intra- and extracellular spaces), accurate estimates of cell sizes and intracellular volume fractions were obtained in vitro for (i) different cell types with sizes ranging from 10 to 20 μm, (ii) different cell densities, and (iii) before and after anticancer treatment.
CONCLUSION - Hybrid OGSE-PGSE acquisitions sample a larger region of temporal diffusion spectra and can accurately quantify cell sizes over a wide range. Moreover, the maximum gradient strength used was lower than 15 G/cm, suggesting that this approach is translatable to practical MR imaging.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.