Diffusion anisotropy in subcortical white matter and cortical gray matter: changes with aging and the role of CSF-suppression

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Aug;20(2):216-27. doi: 10.1002/jmri.20102.


Purpose: To determine the relevance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-suppression for the measurement of diffusion anisotropy in well-localized areas of the brain, particularly the subcortical white matter (WM) within the gyri and cortical gray matter (GM), in young and elderly subjects, and to assess the changes of water diffusivity in the brain with normal aging.

Materials and methods: Quantitative measures of anisotropy in 26 regions, including subcortical WM (i.e., in the gyri), cortical GM, major deep WM, and deep GM regions of young (21-25 years, N = 8) and elderly (61-74 years, N = 10) normal volunteers, were assessed with CSF-suppressed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) relative to standard DTI.

Results: CSF-suppressed DTI demonstrated significant increases in fractional anisotropy (FA) of 3-12% in the young and 2-14% in the elderly groups with the largest changes being in the subcortical WM of the gyri. Furthermore, FA decreased by 10-19% in the subcortical WM of the gyri of the elderly subjects relative to the young, primarily due to increases in the perpendicular diffusivity, lambda(3), with age.

Conclusion: CSF-suppressed DTI yields more accurate measures of quantitative anisotropy in cortical and subcortical brain regions. Reductions of anisotropy with aging were predominantly observed in subcortical WM of the gyri.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged