Diffusion-tensor MRI: theory, experimental design and data analysis - a technical review

NMR Biomed. Nov-Dec 2002;15(7-8):456-67. doi: 10.1002/nbm.783.


This article treats the theoretical underpinnings of diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI), as well as experimental design and data analysis issues. We review the mathematical model underlying DT-MRI, discuss the quantitative parameters that are derived from the measured effective diffusion tensor, and describe artifacts that arise in typical DT-MRI acquisitions. We also discuss difficulties in identifying appropriate models to describe water diffusion in heterogeneous tissues, as well as in interpreting experimental data obtained in such issues. Finally, we describe new statistical methods that have been developed to analyse DT-MRI data, and their potential uses in clinical and multi-site studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Artifacts
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Nerve Fibers / chemistry
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism*
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology*
  • Neural Pathways / chemistry
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Research Design
  • Water / chemistry


  • Water