Resolving relaxometry and diffusion properties within the same voxel in the presence of crossing fibres by combining inversion recovery and diffusion-weighted acquisitions

Silvia De Santis, Daniel Barazany, Derek K. Jones, Yaniv Assaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose A comprehensive image-based characterization of white matter should include the ability to quantify myelin and axonal attributes irrespective of the complexity of fibre organization within the voxel. While progress has been made with diffusion MRI-based approaches to measure axonal morphology, to date available myelin metrics simply assign a single scalar value to the voxel, reflecting some form of average of its constituent fibres. Here, a new experimental framework that combines diffusion MRI and relaxometry is introduced. It provides, for the first time, the ability to assign to each unique fibre system within a voxel, a unique value of the longitudinal relaxation time, T1, which is largely influenced by the myelin content. Methods We demonstrate the method through simulations, in a crossing fibres phantom, in fixed brains and in vivo. Results The method is capable of recovering unique values of T1 for each fibre population. Conclusion The ability to extract fibre-specific relaxometry properties will provide enhanced specificity and, therefore, sensitivity to differences in white matter architecture, which will be invaluable in many neuroimaging studies. Further the enhanced specificity should ultimately lead to earlier diagnosis and access to treatment in a range of white matter diseases where axons are affected. Magn Reson Med 75:372-380, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-380
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • CHARMED
  • diffusion tensor MRI
  • g-ratio
  • myelin
  • white matter microstructure

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