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Characterizing Microstructural Tissue Properties in Multiple Sclerosis with Diffusion MRI at 7?T and 3?T: The Impact of the Experimental Design

De Santis, Silvia; Bastiani, Matteo; Droby, Amgad; Kolber, Pierre; Zipp, Frauke; Pracht, Eberhard; Stoecker, Tony; Groppa, Sergiu; Roebroeck, Alard


Silvia De Santis

Matteo Bastiani

Amgad Droby

Pierre Kolber

Frauke Zipp

Eberhard Pracht

Tony Stoecker

Sergiu Groppa

Alard Roebroeck


© 2018 The Author(s) The recent introduction of advanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques to characterize focal and global degeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS), like the Composite Hindered and Restricted Model of Diffusion, or CHARMED, diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) and Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI) made available new tools to image axonal pathology non-invasively in vivo. These methods already showed greater sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional diffusion tensor-based metrics (e.g., fractional anisotropy), overcoming some of its limitations. While previous studies uncovered global and focal axonal degeneration in MS patients compared to healthy controls, here our aim is to investigate and compare different diffusion MRI acquisition protocols in their ability to highlight microstructural differences between MS and control tissue over several much used models. For comparison, we contrasted the ability of fractional anisotropy measurements to uncover differences between lesion, normal-appearing white matter (WM), gray matter and healthy tissue under the same imaging protocols. We show that: (1) focal and diffuse differences in several microstructural parameters are observed under clinical settings; (2) advanced models (CHARMED, DKI and NODDI) have increased specificity and sensitivity to neurodegeneration when compared to fractional anisotropy measurements; and (3) both high (3 T) and ultra-high fields (7 T) are viable options for imaging tissue change in MS lesions and normal appearing WM, while higher b-values are less beneficial under the tested short-time (10 min acquisition) conditions.


De Santis, S., Bastiani, M., Droby, A., Kolber, P., Zipp, F., Pracht, E., …Roebroeck, A. (2019). Characterizing Microstructural Tissue Properties in Multiple Sclerosis with Diffusion MRI at 7 T and 3 T: The Impact of the Experimental Design. Neuroscience, 403, 17-26.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 28, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 7, 2018
Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2018
Journal Neuroscience
Print ISSN 0306-4522
Electronic ISSN 1873-7544
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 403
Pages 17-26
Keywords General Neuroscience
Public URL
Publisher URL


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