Document Type




Format of Original

8 p.

Publication Date




Source Publication

Journal of Visualized Experiments

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

DOI: 10.3791/52390


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the state of the art approach for assessing the status of the spinal cord noninvasively, and can be used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool in cases of disease or injury. Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), is sensitive to the thermal motion of water molecules and allows for inferences of tissue microstructure. This report describes a protocol to acquire and analyze DWI of the rat cervical spinal cord on a small-bore animal system. It demonstrates an imaging setup for the live anesthetized animal and recommends a DWI acquisition protocol for high-quality imaging, which includes stabilization of the cord and control of respiratory motion. Measurements with diffusion weighting along different directions and magnitudes (b-values) are used. Finally, several mathematical models of the resulting signal are used to derive maps of the diffusion processes within the spinal cord tissue that provide insight into the normal cord and can be used to monitor injury or disease processes noninvasively.

The video component of this article can be found at Introduction Magnetic


Published version. Journal of Visualized Experiments, Vol. 98 (April 2015): e52390. DOI. © 2015 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Used with permission.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, April 01, 2017