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Ex vivo diffusion tensor imaging of spinal cord injury in rats of varying degrees of severity. J Neurotrauma 2013 Sep 15;30(18):1577-86



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84883641677   34 Citations


The aim of this study was to characterize magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in proximal regions of the spinal cord following a thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI). Sprague-Dawley rats (n=40) were administered a control, mild, moderate, or severe contusion injury at the T8 vertebral level. Six direction diffusion weighted images (DWIs) were collected ex vivo along the length of the spinal cord, with an echo/repetition time of 31.6 ms/14  sec and b=500 sec/mm². Diffusion metrics were correlated to hindlimb motor function. Significant differences were found for whole cord region of interest (ROI) drawings for fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), longitudinal diffusion coefficient (LD), and radial diffusion coefficient (RD) at each of the cervical levels (p<0.01). Motor function correlated with MD in the cervical segments of the spinal cord (r(2)=0.80). The diffusivity of water significantly decreased throughout "uninjured" portions of the spinal cord following a contusion injury (p<0.05). Diffusivity metrics were found to be altered following SCI in both white and gray matter regions. Injury severity was associated with diffusion changes over the entire length of the cord. This study demonstrates that DTI is sensitive to SCI in regions remote from injury, suggesting that the diffusion metrics may be used as a biomarker for severity of injury.

Author List

Jirjis MB, Kurpad SN, Schmit BD


Shekar N. Kurpad MD, PhD Chair, Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Behavior, Animal
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
Neurologic Examination
Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Spinal Cord
Spinal Cord Injuries
Thoracic Injuries