Regional ADC values of the normal brain: differences due to age, gender, and laterality

Eur Radiol. 2003 Jan;13(1):6-11. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1549-1. Epub 2002 Jun 22.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the stability of measurement for apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in normal brain, to clarify the effect of aging on ADC values, to compare ADC values between men and women, and to compare ADC values between right and left sides of the brain. To evaluate the stability of measurements, five normal volunteers (four men and one woman) were examined five times on different days. Then, 294 subjects with normal MR imaging (147 men and 147 women; age range 20-89 years) were measured. The ADC measurement in normal volunteers was stable. The ADC values stayed within the 5% deviation of average values in all volunteers (mean+/-standard deviation 2.3+/-1.2%). The ADC values gradually increased by aging in all regions. In thalamus, no significant difference was seen between right and left in the subjects under 60 years; however, right side showed higher values in the subjects over 60 years (p<0.01). In the subjects under 60 years, women showed higher values in right frontal, bilateral thalamus, and temporal (p<0.01); however, in the subjects over 60 years, no region showed difference between men and women. The knowledge obtained in this study may be helpful to understand the developmental and aging mechanisms of normal brain and may be useful for the future quantitative study as a reference.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics*