Comparison of Magnetic Susceptibility Tensor and Diffusion Tensor of the Brain
Journal of Neuroscience and Neuroengineering
Susceptibility tensor imaging (STI) provides a novel approach for noninvasive assessment of the white matter pathways of the brain. Using mouse brain ex vivo, we compared STI with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in terms of tensor values, principal tensor values, anisotropy values, and tensor orientations. Despite the completely different biophysical underpinnings, magnetic susceptibility tensors and diffusion tensors show many similarities in the tensor and principal tensor images, for
... the tensors perpendicular to the fiber direction have the highest gray-white matter contrast, and the largest principal tensor is along the fiber direction. Comparison to DTI fractional anisotropy, the susceptibility anisotropy provides much higher sensitivity to the chemical composition of the white matter, especially myelin. The high sensitivity can be further enhanced with the perfusion of ProHance, a gadolinium-based contrast agent. Regarding the tensor orientations, the direction of the largest principal susceptibility tensor agrees with that of diffusion tensors in major white matter fiber bundles. The STI fiber tractography can reconstruct the fiber pathways for the whole corpus callosum and for white matter fiber bundles that are in close contact but in different orientations. There are some differences between susceptibility and diffusion tensor orientations, which are likely due to the limitations in the current STI reconstruction. With the development of more accurate reconstruction methods, STI holds the promise for probing the white matter micro-architectures with more anatomical details and higher chemical sensitivity.