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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2001 Mar;22(3):456-63.

Diffusion anisotropy of the internal capsule and the corona radiata in association with stroke and tumors as measured by diffusion-weighted MR imaging.

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Department of Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Diffusion-weighted MR images have enabled measurement of directionality of diffusion (anisotropy) in white matter. To investigate differences in the anisotropy for various types of pathologic findings and the association between the anisotropy of tracts and neurologic dysfunction, we compared the anisotropy of the posterior limb of the internal capsule and the corona radiata between patients with stroke and those with tumors and between patients with and without hemiparesis.


Thirty-three patients consisting of 11 with tumors and 22 with ischemic disease (16 acute infarction, four old infarction, and two transient ischemic attack) and nine control patients were studied with a 1.5-T MR imager. Diffusion-weighted images were obtained with diffusion gradients applied in three orthogonal directions. The diffusion anisotropy measurements were obtained from regions of interests defined within the internal capsule and the corona radiata.


The diffusion anisotropy was significantly reduced in all internal capsules and coronae radiata involved by infarcts, tumors, and peritumoral edema compared with that of the control patients (P <.0001). This reduction was most prominent in the tracts involved by tumors (P <.05). The anisotropy of the internal capsules and coronae radiata was significantly decreased in cases with moderate-to-severe hemiparesis as compared with those with no or mild hemiparesis (P <.0001). Diffusion anisotropy tended to be also reduced in normal-appearing internal capsules and coronae radiata that were remote from the involved segment of the corticospinal tract.


The degree of impaired diffusion anisotropy may vary in different pathologic conditions and correlate with neurologic dysfunction. The measurement of diffusion anisotropy may provide additional information relating to neurologic function and transneuronal effects.

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