Send to

Choose Destination
Magn Reson Med. 2016 Jul;76(1):290-300. doi: 10.1002/mrm.25816. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

Simulation of changes in diffusion related to different pathologies at cellular level after traumatic brain injury.

Author information

Center for Brain Imaging Science and Technology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.
Department of Imaging Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.



The goal of the current study was to investigate tissue pathology at the cellular level in traumatic brain injury (TBI) as revealed by Monte Carlo simulation of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-derived parameters and elucidate the possible sources of conflicting findings of DTI abnormalities as reported in the TBI literature.


A model with three compartments separated by permeable membranes was employed to represent the diffusion environment of water molecules in brain white matter. The dynamic diffusion process was simulated with a Monte Carlo method using adjustable parameters of intra-axonal diffusivity, axon separation, glial cell volume fraction, and myelin sheath permeability. The effects of tissue pathology on DTI parameters were investigated by adjusting the parameters of the model corresponding to different stages of brain injury.


The results suggest that the model is appropriate and the DTI-derived parameters simulate the predominant cellular pathology after TBI. Our results further indicate that when edema is not prevalent, axial and radial diffusivity have better sensitivity to axonal injury and demyelination than other DTI parameters.


DTI is a promising biomarker to detect and stage tissue injury after TBI. The observed inconsistencies among previous studies are likely due to scanning at different stages of tissue injury after TBI. Magn Reson Med 76:290-300, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


DTI; Monte Carlo simulation; TBI; axonal injury; demyelination; edema

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center