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Quantification of anisotropy and fiber orientation in human brain histological sections. Front Integr Neurosci 2013;7:3



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Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) has provided unparalleled insight into the microscopic structure and organization of the central nervous system. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and other models of the diffusion MRI signal extract microstructural properties of tissues with relevance to the normal and injured brain. Despite the prevalence of such techniques and applications, accurate and large-scale validation has proven difficult, particularly in the human brain. In this report, human brain sections obtained from a digital public brain bank were employed to quantify anisotropy and fiber orientation using structure tensor analysis. The derived maps depict the intricate complexity of white matter fibers at a resolution not attainable with current DWI experiments. Moreover, the effects of multiple fiber bundles (i.e., crossing fibers) and intravoxel fiber dispersion were demonstrated. Examination of the cortex and hippocampal regions validated-specific features of previous in vivo and ex vivo DTI studies of the human brain. Despite the limitation to two dimensions, the resulting images provide a unique depiction of white matter organization at resolutions currently unattainable with DWI. The method of analysis may be used to validate tissue properties derived from DTI and alternative models of the diffusion signal.

Author List

Budde MD, Annese J


Matthew Budde PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

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