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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Oct;293(4):H2377-84. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

Transmural heterogeneity of diffusion anisotropy in the sheep myocardium characterized by MR diffusion tensor imaging.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


The orientation of MRI-measured diffusion tensor in the myocardium has been directly correlated to the tissue fiber direction and widely characterized. However, the scalar anisotropy indexes have mostly been assumed to be uniform throughout the myocardial wall. The present study examines the fractional anisotropy (FA) as a function of transmural depth and circumferential and longitudinal locations in the normal sheep cardiac left ventricle. Results indicate that FA remains relatively constant from the epicardium to the midwall and then decreases (25.7%) steadily toward the endocardium. The decrease of FA corresponds to 7.9% and 12.9% increases in the secondary and tertiary diffusion tensor diffusivities, respectively. The transmural location of the FA transition coincides with the location where myocardial fibers run exactly circumferentially. There is also a significant difference in the midwall-endocardium FA slope between the septum and the posterior or lateral left ventricular free wall. These findings are consistent with the cellular microstructure from histological studies of the myocardium and suggest a role for MR diffusion tensor imaging in characterization of not only fiber orientation but, also, other tissue parameters, such as the extracellular volume fraction.

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