Molecular diffusion, tissue microdynamics and microstructure

NMR Biomed. 1995 Nov-Dec;8(7-8):375-86. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1940080711.


Diffusion NMR is the only method available today that noninvasively provides information on molecular displacements over distances comparable to cell dimensions. This information can be used to infer tissue microstructure and microdynamics. However, data may be fairly difficult to interpret in biological tissues which differ markedly from the theoretical "infinite isotrope medium", as many factors may affect the NMR signal. The object of this paper is to analyze the expected effects of temperature, restriction, hindrance, membrane permeability, anisotropy and tissue inhomogeneity on the diffusion measurements. Powerful methods, such as q-space imaging, diffusion tensor imaging and diffusion spectroscopy of metabolites further enhance the specificity of the information obtained from diffusion NMR experiments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Mathematics
  • Temperature