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Radiology. 2003 Jun;227(3):731-8. Epub 2003 Apr 17.

Age-related changes in conventional, magnetization transfer, and diffusion-tensor MR imaging findings: study with whole-brain tissue histogram analysis.

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Neuroimaging Research Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy.



To investigate the influence of aging on conventional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-, magnetization transfer MR imaging-, and diffusion-tensor MR imaging-derived measurements.


Dual-echo T1-weighted magnetization transfer and diffusion-tensor MR images of the brain were obtained in 89 healthy subjects. Normalized brain parenchymal volume (NBV) was measured by using a fully automated technique. Magnetization transfer ratio (MTR), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and fractional anisotropy (FA) histograms were created for the whole brain (MTR values) or for a large representative portion of it (ADC and FA values). Bivariate correlations were assessed by using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. A stepwise selection procedure was used to identify the combination of variables that were most influenced by subject age in a multivariate regression model.


Significant correlations were found between subject age and the following variables: number of hyperintense areas in the brain at T2-weighted MR imaging (r = 0.63, P <.001), NBV (r = -0.79, P <.001), mean ADC (r = 0.34, P =.001), ADC peak height (r = -0.34, P =.001), and FA peak height (r = -0.57, P <.001). NBV correlated significantly with number of hyperintense areas (P <.001), MTR peak height (P <.001), mean ADC (P =.001), ADC peak height (P =.001), and FA peak height (P <.001). The final multivariable regression model included NBV and number of hyperintense areas at T2-weighted MR imaging as independent predictors of subject age.


In addition to the extent of T2-weighted MR imaging hyperintense areas and the measurement of NBV, diffusion-tensor MR imaging provides additional in vivo information about microstructural age-related brain tissue changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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