Non-Gaussian diffusion imaging for enhanced contrast of brain tissue affected by ischemic stroke

Farida Grinberg, Ezequiel Farrher, Luisa Ciobanu, Françoise Geffroy, Denis Le Bihan, N. Jon Shah

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Recent diffusion MRI studies of stroke in humans and animals have shown that the quantitative parameters characterising the degree of non-Gaussianity of the diffusion process are much more sensitive to ischemic changes than the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) considered so far as the "gold standard". The observed changes exceeded that of the ADC by a remarkable factor of 2 to 3. These studies were based on the novel non-Gaussian methods, such as diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) and log-normal distribution function imaging (LNDFI). As shown in our previous work investigating the animal stroke model, a combined analysis using two methods, DKI and LNDFI provides valuable complimentary information. In the present work, we report the application of three non-Gaussian diffusion models to quantify the deviations from the Gaussian behaviour in stroke induced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in rat brains: the gamma-distribution function (GDF), the stretched exponential model (SEM), and the biexponential model. The main goal was to compare the sensitivity of various non-Gaussian metrics to ischemic changes and to investigate if a combined application of several models will provide added value in the assessment of stroke. We have shown that two models, GDF and SEM, exhibit a better performance than the conventional method and allow for a significantly enhanced visualization of lesions. Furthermore, we showed that valuable information regarding spatial properties of stroke lesions can be obtained. In particular, we observed a stratified cortex structure in the lesions that were well visible in the maps of the GDF and SEM metrics, but poorly distinguishable in the ADC-maps. Our results provided evidence that cortical layers tend to be differently affected by ischemic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere89225
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

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