Title

Characterization and Limitations of Diffusion Tensor Imaging Metrics in the Cervical Spinal Cord in Neurologically Intact Subjects

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

7 p.

Publication Date

10-2013

Publisher

Wiley

Source Publication

Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Source ISSN

1053-1807

Original Item ID

doi: 10.1002/jmri.24039

Abstract

Purpose

To characterize diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics across all levels of the cervical spinal cord (CSC) and to study the impact of age and signal quality on these metrics.

Materials and Methods

DTI metrics were calculated for gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) funiculi throughout the CSC (C1–T1) in 25 healthy subjects (22-85 years old). Signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and mean DTI metrics were measured for the upper (C1-3), middle (C4-6) and lower (C7-T1) cervical segments. Age-related changes in DTI metrics were analyzed for the individual segment groups.

Results

Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD) and transverse apparent diffusion coefficient (tADC) showed significant differences between GM and WM funiculi. Significant age-related changes were observed in FA in upper and middle CSC segments but not in the lower CSC. The median SNR was significantly lower in the middle and lower segment groups as compared to the upper levels, contributing to poor spatial resolution in these regions.

Conclusion

This study provides DTI data for GM and WM funiculi throughout the CSC. While DTI metrics may be used to define cord pathology, variations in metrics due to age and signal quality need to be accounted for before making definitive conclusions. J. Magn. Reson.

Comments

Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Vol. 38. No. 4 (October 2013): 861–867. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.24039.