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Magn Reson Med. 2007 Sep;58(3):454-62.

Unique patterns of diffusion directionality in rat brain tumors revealed by high-resolution diffusion tensor MRI.

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Division of MR Research, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a new technique that uses the microscopic motion of water molecules to probe tissue 3D microstructures. In this study, high-resolution DTI was performed on rats bearing intracranial 9L gliosarcoma, F98 glioma, and human glioblastoma. It was found that the tumors consisted of central zones with low diffusion anisotropy and peripheral structures (rim) with high diffusion anisotropy. In the rims, water diffusion directionality formed a circular pattern for the 9L and F98 tumors, and a radial pattern for the human glioblastoma xenografts. These well-organized diffusion patterns appeared at an early stage postimplantation and continued to exist with tumor growth in all three models. High-resolution ex vivo imaging and histology confirmed the in vivo findings. These distinct patterns, undetectable with conventional MRI, may reflect tumor organization and growth patterns at the cellular level.

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