Self-diffusion anisotropy of water in sheep Achilles tendon

R. Fechete, D. E. Demco, U. Eliav, B. Blümich*, G. Navon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The principal values of the diffusion tensor of free water in the pores of sheep Achilles tendon were determined. For this purpose, the azimuthally angular dependence of the self-diffusion coefficient was measured using a radiofrequency tilt coil and pulsed-field-gradient stimulated-echo (PFGSE) NMR. Combining the PFGSE with multiple acquisitions of Hahn echoes using the Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill pulse sequence reduced the measuring time. The diffusion measurements revealed two diffusion process characterized by a fast and a slow effective diffusion coefficient. A model which describes the stimulated-echo amplitude, encoded by the water diffusion and magnetization transfer, was used for evaluation of the fast diffusion coefficients. The fast diffusion process characterizes the water molecules in pores surrounding the collagen fibrils. The diffusion coefficients characterizing the fast process show a well-defined anisotropy. The principal values of the diffusion tensors were determined assuming the elongated pores to be oriented parallel to the tendon fibrils and thus the orientation distribution function of the pores followed that of the collagen fibrils. The average aspect ratio of pores was estimated from the principal values of the water diffusion tensor and is suitable to characterize quantitatively the changes in tendon morphology due to healing or aging. The methods in this investigation can also be applied to measurements of the diffusion anisotropy using ex situ NMR sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Collagen orientation distribution function
  • Collagen-water proton exchange
  • Diffusion tensor
  • Propagators
  • Sheep Achilles tendon
  • Water self-diffusion anisotropy


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