A practical approach to in vivo high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging of rhesus monkeys on a 3-T human scanner

Xiaoxu Liu, Tong Zhu, Tianliang Gu, Jianhui Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The nonhuman primate brain study provides important supplemental means for human brain exploration since the two species share close anatomical and functional similarities. MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in human brain has revealed exquisite details of brain structures especially in the brain white matter. However, most previous monkey brain DTI results lack the spatial resolution in comparison to the conventional tracing and postmortem imaging methods, especially when it is acquired in commonly available human MRI scanners of field strength of 3 T or lower. To meet the increasing demands for nonhuman primate DTI studies, we proposed an in vivo high-resolution monkey DTI acquisition protocol that is practically feasible and combined it with an improved postprocessing procedure for a 3-T human scanner. The acquisition protocol, susceptibility distortion correction method with phase reversal acquisition, and postprocessing steps were proved to be effective in our study of rhesus monkeys. Results from diffusion tensor estimations and fiber tractography at 1×1×1 mm3 resolution were found to be comparable to previous ex vivo DTI studies with much longer acquisition times. Effects of image resolution were evaluated and it was confirmed that the partial volume effect due to the larger voxel size in low-resolution data biased the diffusion tensor estimation and produced erroneous fiber tractography. Our results suggest that in vivo high-resolution monkey brain DTI can be achieved within practical time, which allows accurate diffusion tensor estimation and fiber tractography in monkey brains, so that the complex anatomical structures within many small but important anatomic structures can be delineated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • DTI
  • Fiber tractography
  • High resolution
  • In vivo
  • Rhesus monkey


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