Full tensor diffusion imaging is not required to assess the white-matter integrity in mouse contusion spinal cord injury

Tsang Wei Tu, Joong H. Kim, Jian Wang, Sheng Kwei Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


In vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) derived indices have been demonstrated to quantify accurately white-matter injury after contusion spinal cord injury (SCI) in rodents. In general, a full diffusion tensor analysis requires the acquisition of diffusion-weighted images (DWI) along at least six independent directions of diffusion-sensitizing gradients. Thus, DTI measurements of the rodent central nervous system are time consuming. In this study, diffusion indices derived using the two-direction DWI (parallel and perpendicular to axonal tracts) were compared with those obtained using six-direction DTI in a mouse model of SCI. It was hypothesized that the mouse spinal cord ventral-lateral white-matter (VLWM) tracts, T8-T10 in this study, aligned with the main magnet axis (z) allowing the apparent diffusion coefficient parallel and perpendicular to the axis of the spine to be derived with diffusion-weighting gradients in the z and y axes of the magnet coordinate respectively. Compared with six-direction full tensor DTI, two-direction DWI provided comparable diffusion indices in mouse spinal cords. The measured extent of spared white matter after injury, estimated by anisotropy indices, using both six-direction DTI and two-direction DWI were in close agreement and correlated well with histological staining and behavioral assessment. The results suggest that the two-direction DWI derived indices may be used, with significantly reduced imaging time, to estimate accurately spared white matter in mouse SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Assessment tools
  • Biomarkers
  • In vivo studies
  • MRI
  • Traumatic spinal cord injury

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