Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), and DKI-derived white matter tract integrity metrics (WMTI) were experimentally evaluated ex vivo through comparisons to histological measurements and established magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of myelin in two knockout mouse models with varying degrees of hypomyelination. DKI metrics of mean and radial kurtosis were found to be better indicators of myelin content than conventional DTI metrics. The biophysical WMTI model based on the DKI framework reported on axon water fraction with good accuracy in cases with near normal axon density, but did not provide additional specificity to myelination. Overall, DKI provided additional information regarding white matter microstructure compared with DTI, making it an attractive method for future assessments of white matter development and pathology.
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