Line scan diffusion tensor MRI at low magnetic field strength: feasibility study of cervical spondylotic myelopathy in an early clinical stage

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2006 Feb;23(2):183-8. doi: 10.1002/jmri.20488.


Purpose: To implement line scan diffusion tensor MR imaging (LSDTI) on a 0.2 Tesla MR imager, and investigate the findings in the spinal cord of patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy in an early clinical stage.

Materials and methods: Fourteen patients with clinical symptoms of cervical myelopathy underwent LSDTI. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was evaluated. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were measured. We classified the ROIs into two groups: 1) unaffected (no clinical symptoms and no abnormality on conventional images) and 2) affected (some clinical symptoms but no abnormal signal on conventional images). Three-dimensional (3D) fiber-tracking was also studied.

Results: The isotropic ADC values (10(-3)mm2/sec) were 1.28 +/- 0.11 in group 1 and 1.59 +/- 0.23 in group 2. The FAs were 0.55 +/- 0.07 in group 1, and 0.47 +/- 0.11 in group 2. The ADC value in group 2 increased (P < .001, Mann-Whitney U-test) and the FA in group 2 decreased (P = 0.24) on average, compared to those in group 1. 3D fiber-tracking was successful in 64% (9/14) of the cases.

Conclusion: LSDT images at low field strength may be a sensitive method for elucidating the structural characteristics of spinal cord pathology in vivo. However, clinical correlation and a long-term follow-up study will be needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Disease Progression
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / complications
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / diagnosis*