The purpose of this study is to elucidate changes in mean diffusivity (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) using MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the central nervous system during normal aging. We studied 50 normal volunteers (30 men, 20 women; mean age 44.8 +/- 14.0; age range, 21-69 years) without disorders affecting the central nervous system. The frontal, parietal white matter, lentiform nucleus, posterior limb of internal capsule, thalamus, genu and splenium of the corpus callosum were selected for investigation. There was no significant difference in ADC or FA between male and female or between the right and left hemisphere. A significant ADC increase with advancing age was observed in frontal white matter (P = 0.010) and lentiform nucleus (P = 0.022). A significant FA decline was found only in the genu of the corpus callosum (P < 0.001) with advancing age. Quantitative diffusion tensor analysis correlate with normal aging and may help in assessing normal age-related changes and serve as a standard for comparison with neurodegenerative disorders.