Diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) is a clinically feasible diffusion MRI technique for white matter (WM) fiber tractography (FT) with the ability to directly resolve intra-voxel crossing fibers by means of the kurtosis diffusion orientation distribution function (dODF). Here we expand on previous work by exploring properties of the kurtosis dODF and their subsequent effects on WM FT for in vivo human data. For comparison, the results are contrasted with fiber bundle orientation estimates provided by the diffusion tensor, which is the primary quantity obtained from diffusion tensor imaging. We also outline an efficient method for performing DKI-based WM FT that can substantially decrease the computational requirements. The recommended method for implementing the kurtosis ODF is demonstrated to optimize the reproducibility and sensitivity of DKI for detecting crossing fibers while reducing the occurrence of non-physically-meaningful, negative values in the kurtosis dODF approximation. In addition, DKI-based WM FT is illustrated for different protocols differing in image acquisition times from 48 to 5.3 min.
Keywords: DKI; crossing fibers; diffusion MRI; kurtosis; non-Gaussian; orientation distribution function; tractography; white matter tracts.
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.