Current Clinical Applications of Diffusion-Tensor Imaging in Neurological Disorders

J Clin Neurol. 2018 Apr;14(2):129-140. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2018.14.2.129. Epub 2018 Feb 28.


Diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) is a noninvasive medical imaging tool used to investigate the structure of white matter. The signal contrast in DTI is generated by differences in the Brownian motion of the water molecules in brain tissue. Postprocessed DTI scalars can be used to evaluate changes in the brain tissue caused by disease, disease progression, and treatment responses, which has led to an enormous amount of interest in DTI in clinical research. This review article provides insights into DTI scalars and the biological background of DTI as a relatively new neuroimaging modality. Further, it summarizes the clinical role of DTI in various disease processes such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's dementia, epilepsy, ischemic stroke, stroke with motor or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and depression. Valuable DTI postprocessing tools for clinical research are also introduced.

Keywords: diffusion-tensor imaging; diffusion-tensor imaging scalar; neurological disorders; postprocessing.

Publication types

  • Review