Isotropic resolution diffusion tensor imaging with whole brain acquisition in a clinically acceptable time

Hum Brain Mapp. 2002 Apr;15(4):216-30. doi: 10.1002/hbm.10018.


Our objective was to develop a diffusion tensor MR imaging pulse sequence that allows whole brain coverage with isotropic resolution within a clinically acceptable time. A single-shot, cardiac-gated MR pulse sequence, optimized for measuring the diffusion tensor in human brain, was developed to provide whole-brain coverage with isotropic (2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 mm) spatial resolution, within a total imaging time of approximately 15 min. The diffusion tensor was computed for each voxel in the whole volume and the data processed for visualization in three orthogonal planes. Anisotropy data were further visualized using a maximum-intensity projection algorithm. Finally, reconstruction of fiber-tract trajectories i.e., "tractography" was performed. Images obtained with this pulse sequence provide clear delineation of individual white matter tracts, from the most superior cortical regions down to the cerebellum and brain stem. Because the data are acquired with isotropic resolution, they can be reformatted in any plane and the sequence can therefore be used, in general, for macroscopic neurological or psychiatric neuroimaging investigations. The 3D visualization afforded by maximum intensity projection imaging and tractography provided easy visualization of individual white matter fasciculi, which may be important sites of neuropathological degeneration or abnormal brain development. This study has shown that it is possible to obtain robust, high quality diffusion tensor MR data at 1.5 Tesla with isotropic resolution (2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 mm) from the whole brain within a sufficiently short imaging time that it may be incorporated into clinical imaging protocols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Time Factors