Diffusion tensor MRI of the spinal cord

Magn Reson Med. 2000 Dec;44(6):884-92. doi: 10.1002/1522-2594(200012)44:6<884::aid-mrm9>3.0.co;2-q.


Apparent diffusion tensor (ADT) measurements on the spinal cord using a pulsed-field-gradient (PFG) multi-shot echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequence are presented. In a study of 10 healthy volunteers, the obtained rotationally invariant anisotropy information is compared to the results obtained by the rotationally dependent methods. The water diffusivity in the direction parallel to the fibers was found to be almost 2.5 times higher than the average diffusivity in directions perpendicular to the fibers and showed cylindrically symmetric anisotropy characteristics. The influence of partial volume effects and the point spread function on the measured results was evaluated, and it was the concluded that a resolution of 1 mm in the read and phase directions is required to obtain unbiased values. Possible clinical implications were demonstrated by investigating the diffusion characteristics of 10 patients suffering from narrowing of the cervical canal. The changes in the diffusion characteristics were found to be large enough to allow a robust detection of diffusion changes in the spine, even in cases in which conventional T(2) and T(1) weighted images were unable to detect any lesion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*
  • Spinal Stenosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnosis