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Perivascular space fluid contributes to diffusion tensor imaging changes in white matter

By Farshid Sepehrband, Ryan P Cabeen, Jeiran Choupan, Giuseppe Barisano, Meng Law, Arthur W. Toga, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Posted 20 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/395012 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.04.070)

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been extensively used to map changes in brain tissue related to neurological disorders. Among the most widespread DTI findings are increased mean diffusivity and decreased fractional anisotropy of white matter tissue in neurodegenerative diseases. Here we utilize multi-shell diffusion imaging to separate diffusion signal of the brain parenchyma from fluid within the white matter. We show that unincorporated anisotropic water in perivascular space (PVS) significantly, and systematically, biases DTI measures, casting new light on the biological validity of many previously reported findings. Despite the challenge this poses for interpreting these past findings, our results suggest that multi-shell diffusion MRI provides a new opportunity for incorporating the PVS contribution, ultimately strengthening the clinical and scientific value of diffusion MRI.

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