Pervasive White Matter Fiber Degeneration in Ischemic Stroke

Natalia Egorova, Thijs Dhollander, Mohamed Salah Khlif, Wasim Khan, Emilio Werden, Amy Brodtmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose-We examined if ischemic stroke is associated with white matter degeneration predominantly confined to the ipsi-lesional tracts or with widespread bilateral axonal loss independent of lesion laterality. Methods-We applied a novel fixel-based analysis, sensitive to fiber tract-specific differences within a voxel, to assess axonal loss in stroke (N=104, 32 women) compared to control participants (N=40, 15 women) across the whole brain. We studied microstructural differences in fiber density and macrostructural (morphological) changes in fiber cross-section. Results-In participants with stroke, we observed significantly lower fiber density and cross-section in areas adjacent, or connected, to the lesions (eg, ipsi-lesional corticospinal tract). In addition, the changes extended beyond directly connected tracts, independent of the lesion laterality (eg, corpus callosum, bilateral inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, right superior longitudinal fasciculus). Conclusions-We conclude that ischemic stroke is associated with extensive neurodegeneration that significantly affects white matter integrity across the whole brain. These findings expand our understanding of the mechanisms of brain volume loss and delayed cognitive decline in stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1513
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • brain ischemia
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • diffusion
  • stroke
  • white matter

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