Diffusion tensor imaging of normal and injured developing human brain - a technical review

NMR Biomed. Nov-Dec 2002;15(7-8):543-52. doi: 10.1002/nbm.784.


The application of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to the evaluation of developing brain remains an area of active investigation. This review focuses on the changes in DTI parameters which accompany both brain maturation and injury. The two primary pieces of information available from DTI studies-water apparent diffusion coefficient and diffusion anisotropy measures-change dramatically during development, reflecting underlying changes in tissue water content and cytoarchitecture. DTI parameters also change in response to brain injury. In this context, not only does DTI offer the possibility of detecting injury earlier than conventional imaging methods, but also appears more sensitive to disruption of white matter than any other imaging method. DTI offers unique insight into brain injury and maturation, and does so in a fashion that can be readily applied in a clinical setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / pathology*
  • Water / chemistry


  • Water