Axisymmetric diffusion kurtosis imaging with Rician bias correction: A simulation study
Purpose: To compare the estimation accuracy of axisymmetric diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) and standard DKI in combination with Rician bias correction (RBC). Methods: Axisymmetric DKI is more robust against noise-induced variation in the measured signal than standard DKI because of its reduced parameter space. However, its susceptibility to Rician noise bias at low signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) is unknown. Here, we investigate two main questions: first, does RBC improve estimation accuracy of
... xisymmetric DKI?; second, is estimation accuracy of axisymmetric DKI increased compared to standard DKI? Estimation accuracy was investigated on the five axisymmetric DKI tensor metrics (AxTM): the parallel and perpendicular diffusivity and kurtosis and mean of the kurtosis tensor, using a noise simulation study based on synthetic data of tissues with varying fiber alignment and in-vivo data focusing on white matter. Results: RBC mainly increased accuracy for the parallel AxTM in tissues with highly to moderately aligned fibers. For the perpendicular AxTM, axisymmetric DKI without RBC performed slightly better than with RBC. However, the combination of axisymmetric DKI with RBC was the overall best performing algorithm across all five AxTM in white matter and axisymmetric DKI itself substantially improved accuracy in axisymmetric tissues with low fiber alignment. Conclusion: Combining axisymmetric DKI with RBC facilitates accurate DKI parameter estimation at unprecedented low SNRs ((Formula presented.)) in white matter, possibly making it a valuable tool for neuroscience and clinical research studies where scan time is a limited resource. The tools used here are available in the open-source ACID toolbox for SPM.