Water diffusion compartmentation and anisotropy at high b values in the human brain

Magn Reson Med. 2000 Dec;44(6):852-9. doi: 10.1002/1522-2594(200012)44:6<852::aid-mrm5>3.0.co;2-a.


Biexponential diffusion decay is demonstrated in the human brain in vivo using b factors up to 4000 sec mm(-2). Fitting of the signal decay data yields values for the slow and fast diffusion components and volume fractions in agreement with previous studies in rat and human brain. In addition, differences in the fitted parameters are demonstrated in the white and gray matter and diffusion anisotropy is demonstrated in both the slow and fast diffusing components. Apparent anisotropy in the component fractions is discussed in terms of directionally dependent exchange rates between the compartments. The lack of a relationship between the estimated contribution to the signal of the fast and slow components and echo time appears to rule out T(2) differences in the observed water compartments. Values obtained for the fast diffusion coefficient, including differences between white and gray matter and the degree of anisotropy are compatible with the predictions of extracellular diffusion of water based on tortuosity models and the diffusion of tetramethylammonium ions in rat brain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Body Fluid Compartments / physiology*
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors