In vivo MR tractography using diffusion imaging

Eur J Radiol. 2003 Mar;45(3):223-34. doi: 10.1016/s0720-048x(02)00311-x.


Diffusion in structured tissue, such as white matter or muscle, is anisotropic. MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures anisotropy per pixel and provides the directional information relevant for MR tractography or fiber tracking in vivo. MR tractography is non-invasive, relatively fast, and can be repeated multiple times without destructing important tissue. Moreover, the combination with other MR images is relatively simple. In this paper, the basic principles of tractography are presented. Different tracking methods with varying degrees of complexity are introduced and their potential strengths and weaknesses are discussed. Clinical applications and different strategies for evaluating the fidelity of tracking results are reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Mapping
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways*