Document Type




Format of Original

10 p.

Publication Date



Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Source Publication

Journal of Neurotrauma

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.2897


The aim of this study was to characterize magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in proximal regions of the spinal cord following a thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI). Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 40) were administered a control, mild, moderate, or severe contusion injury at the T8 vertebral level. Six direction diffusion weighted images (DWIs) were collected ex vivo along the length of the spinal cord, with an echo/repetition time of 31.6 ms/14 sec and b = 500 sec/mm2. Diffusion metrics were correlated to hindlimb motor function. Significant differences were found for whole cord region of interest (ROI) drawings for fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), longitudinal diffusion coefficient (LD), and radial diffusion coefficient (RD) at each of the cervical levels ( p < 0.01). Motor function correlated with MD in the cervical segments of the spinal cord (r2 = 0.80). The diffusivity of water significantly decreased throughout ‘‘uninjured’’ portions of the spinal cord following a contusion injury ( p < 0.05). Diffusivity metrics were found to be altered following SCI in both white and gray matter regions. Injury severity was associated with diffusion changes over the entire length of the cord. This study demonstrates that DTI is sensitive to SCI in regions remote from injury, suggesting that the diffusion metrics may be used as a biomarker for severity of injury.


Published version. Journal of Neurotrauma, Vol. 30, No. 18 (September 2013): 1577-1586. DOI. © M.A. Liebert 2013. Used with permission.