Longitudinal white matter changes after traumatic axonal injury

Alison M. Perez, Justin Adler, Nimay Kulkarni, Jeremy F. Strain, Kyle B. Womack, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Carlos D.Marquez De La Plata

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39 Scopus citations


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been useful in showing compromise after traumatic axonal injury (TAI) at the chronic stage; however, white matter (WM) compromise from acute stage of TAI to chronic stage is not yet well understood. This study aims to examine changes in WM integrity following TAI by obtaining DTI, on average, 1 d post injury and again approximately seven months post-injury. Sixteen patients with complicated mild to severe brain injuries consistent with TAI were recruited in the intensive care unit of a Level I trauma center. Thirteen of these patients were studied longitudinally over the course of the first seven months post-injury. The first scan occurred, on average, 1 d after injury and the second an average of seven months post-injury. Ten healthy individuals, similar to the cohort of patients, were recruited as controls. Whole brain WM and voxel-based analyses of DTI data were conducted. DTI metrics of interest included: fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD). tract-based spatial statistics were used to examine DTI metrics spatially. Acutely, AD and RD increased and RD positively correlated with injury severity. Longitudinal analysis showed reduction in FA and AD (p< 0.01), but no change in RD. Possible explanations for the microstructural changes observed over time are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1478-1485
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Axonal injury
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain edema
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Traumatic brain injury


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