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J Neurosci Res. 2006 Apr;83(5):801-10.

In vivo serial diffusion tensor imaging of experimental spinal cord injury.

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Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In vivo longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of rodent spinal cord injury (SCI) was carried out over a period of eight weeks post-injury. A balanced, rotationally invariant, alternating gradient polarity icosahedral diffusion encoding scheme was used for an unbiased estimation of the DTI metrics. The fractional anisotropy (FA), diffusivities along (longitudinal), and perpendicular (transverse) to the fiber tracts, were estimated for the ventral, dorsal, and lateral white matter. In all the three regions, the DTI metrics were observed to be significantly different in injured cords relative to the uninjured controls close to the epicenter of the injury. However, these differences gradually disappeared away from the epicenter. The spatio-temporal changes in the DTI metrics showed a recovery pattern that is region specific. Although the temporal trends in the tissue recovery in rostral and caudal sections seem to be similar, overall the DTI metrics were observed to be closer to the normal tissue values in the caudal relative to the rostral sections (rostral-caudal asymmetry).

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