MRI diffusion coefficients in spinal cord correlate with axon morphometry

Neuroreport. 2005 Jan 19;16(1):73-6. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200501190-00017.


Following spinal cord injury, diffusion MRI (DWI) has been shown to detect injury and functionally significant neuroprotection following treatment that otherwise would go undetected with conventional MRI. The underlying histologic correlates to directional apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) obtained with DWI have not been determined, however, and we address this issue by directly correlating ADC values with corresponding axon morphometry in the normal rat cervical spinal cord. ADC values transverse (perpendicular) and longitudinal (parallel) to axons both correlate with axon counts, however each directional ADC reflects distinct histologic parameters. DWI may therefore be capable of providing specific histologic data regarding the integrity of white matter.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / pathology
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology*