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Non-Gaussian Water Diffusion in Brain Tissue

Attenuation of the NMR water signal by molecular diffusion in brain tissue gives rise to valuable information regarding the early detection of stroke and the diagnosis of various neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Visualisation contrast in diffusion-weighted (DW) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is generally based on the sensitivity of the molecular propagation to the local geometrical and physiological environment.

In particular, remarkable success has been demonstrated in assessing white matter fibre orientations by monitoring anisotropic water diffusion in organised axonal structures. Conventional methods, however, are based on a simplified picture of the Gaussian diffusion characteristic of non-confined isotropic liquids and usually only address the average characteristics of molecular propagation related to the lower range of the b-values (the experimental parameter regulating the degree of diffusion weighting in the image).

At the same time, more detailed experiments show that water in brain tissue tends to exhibit essential deviations from the patterns of Gaussian diffusion (Grinberg et al., Neuroimage, 2011). These deviations become more pronounced with increasing b-values. The aim of this project is to develop non-Gaussian diffusion MRI tools for the analysis of diffusion patterns in brain tissue. Such analysis allows one to enhance information gained relating to diffusion mechanisms and the underlying microstructure.

The developed tools provide a multitude of novel non-Gaussian diffusion metrics, significantly enhancing the contrast between the healthy and pathological tissue (see an example for stroke in the figure below, Grinberg et al., NMR Biomed., 2012; Grinberg et al., PlosOne, 2014). In this project, new quantitative indices are examined with respect to their potential applications in monitoring various developmental, ageing, and pathological changes in the microstructure of brain tissue, such as, for example, in spinocerebellar ataxia, type 14.

Publications

F. Grinberg, E. Farrher, J. Kaffanke, A.-M. Oros-Peusquens, and N. J. Shah. Non-Gaussian diffusion in human brain tissue at high b-factors as examined by a combined diffusion kurtosis and biexponential diffusion tensor analysis. Neuroimage 57:1087-1102, 2011.

F. Grinberg, L. Ciobanu, E. Farrher, and N. J. Shah. Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging and Lognormal Distribution Function Imaging Enhance Visualisation of Lesions in Animal Stroke Models. NMR Biomed 25:1295-304, 2012.

F. Grinberg, E. Farrher, L. Ciobanu, F. Geffroy, D. Le Bihan, and N. J. Shah, Gaussian Diffusion Imaging for Enhanced Contrast of Brain Tissue Affected by Ischemic Stroke. PlosOne 9:e89225-e89226, 2014.

Non-Gaussian Water Diffusion in Brain Tissue

Non-Gaussian Water Diffusion in Brain Tissue

Attenuation of the NMR water signal by molecular diffusion in brain tissue gives rise to valuable information regarding the early detection of stroke and the diagnosis of various neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Visualisation contrast in diffusion-weighted (DW) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is generally based on the sensitivity of the molecular propagation to the local geometrical and physiological environment.

In particular, remarkable success has been demonstrated in assessing white matter fibre orientations by monitoring anisotropic water diffusion in organised axonal structures. Conventional methods, however, are based on a simplified picture of the Gaussian diffusion characteristic of non-confined isotropic liquids and usually only address the average characteristics of molecular propagation related to the lower range of the b-values (the experimental parameter regulating the degree of diffusion weighting in the image).

At the same time, more detailed experiments show that water in brain tissue tends to exhibit essential deviations from the patterns of Gaussian diffusion (Grinberg et al., Neuroimage, 2011). These deviations become more pronounced with increasing b-values. The aim of this project is to develop non-Gaussian diffusion MRI tools for the analysis of diffusion patterns in brain tissue. Such analysis allows one to enhance information gained relating to diffusion mechanisms and the underlying microstructure.

The developed tools provide a multitude of novel non-Gaussian diffusion metrics, significantly enhancing the contrast between the healthy and pathological tissue (see an example for stroke in the figure below, Grinberg et al., NMR Biomed., 2012; Grinberg et al., PlosOne, 2014). In this project, new quantitative indices are examined with respect to their potential applications in monitoring various developmental, ageing, and pathological changes in the microstructure of brain tissue, such as, for example, in spinocerebellar ataxia, type 14.

Publications

F. Grinberg, E. Farrher, J. Kaffanke, A.-M. Oros-Peusquens, and N. J. Shah. Non-Gaussian diffusion in human brain tissue at high b-factors as examined by a combined diffusion kurtosis and biexponential diffusion tensor analysis. Neuroimage 57:1087-1102, 2011.

F. Grinberg, L. Ciobanu, E. Farrher, and N. J. Shah. Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging and Lognormal Distribution Function Imaging Enhance Visualisation of Lesions in Animal Stroke Models. NMR Biomed 25:1295-304, 2012.

F. Grinberg, E. Farrher, L. Ciobanu, F. Geffroy, D. Le Bihan, and N. J. Shah, Gaussian Diffusion Imaging for Enhanced Contrast of Brain Tissue Affected by Ischemic Stroke. PlosOne 9:e89225-e89226, 2014.

Non-Gaussian Water Diffusion in Brain Tissue

Additional Information

Contact Person

Prof. N. J. Shah, PhD

PD Farida Grinberg, PhD


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