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J Magn Reson. 2007 Nov;189(1):38-45. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Detection of microscopic anisotropy in gray matter and in a novel tissue phantom using double Pulsed Gradient Spin Echo MR.

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Section on Tissue Biophysics and Biomimetics, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


A double Pulsed Gradient Spin Echo (d-PGSE) MR experiment was used to measure and assess the degree of local diffusion anisotropy in brain gray matter, and in a novel "gray matter" phantom that consists of randomly oriented tubes filled with water. In both samples, isotropic diffusion was observed at a macroscopic scale while anisotropic diffusion was observed at a microscopic scale, however, the nature of the resulting echo attenuation profiles were qualitatively different. Gray matter, which contains multiple cell types and fibers, exhibits a more complicated echo attenuation profile than the phantom. Since microscopic anisotropy was observed in both samples in the low q regime comparable to that achievable in clinical scanner, it may offer a new potential contrast mechanism for characterizing gray matter microstructure in medical and biological applications.

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