Ion-selective microelectrode measurements of molecular diffusion have provided unique information about the structural characteristics of the extracellular compartment of brain tissue. Magnetic resonance (MR) techniques can also be used to perform diffusion measurements in living tissue in situ. In MR applications, the challenge to study a particular physiological compartment lies in achieving the appropriate specificity in the experimentally-observed MR signal, and many strategies have been used to provide measurements that reflect molecular diffusion within the extracellular space. This review describes how magnetic resonance and microelectrode diffusion measurements are performed, and applications using the MR technique are summarized. Comparisons of experimental results obtained from the two techniques indicate that their use in combination may further augment what is known about extracellular space structure.
- Magnetic resonance