Assessing White Matter Microstructure in Brain Regions with Different Myelin Architecture Using MRI

Samuel Gröschel, Gisela E. Hagberg, Thomas Schultz, Dávid Z. Balla, Uwe Klose, Till-Karsten Hauser, Thomas Nägele, Oliver Bieri, Thomas Prasloski, Alex L. MacKay, Ingeborg Krägeloh-Mann, and Klaus Scheffler
In: PLOS ONE (2016), 11:11(e0167274)
 

Abstract

Objective

We investigate how known differences in myelin architecture between regions along the cortico-spinal tract and frontal white matter (WM) in 19 healthy adolescents are reflected in several quantitative MRI parameters that have been proposed to non-invasively probe WM microstructure. In a clinically feasible scan time, both conventional imaging sequences as well as microstructural MRI parameters were assessed in order to quantitatively characterise WM regions that are known to differ in the thickness of their myelin sheaths, and in the presence of crossing or parallel fibre organisation.

Results

We found that diffusion imaging, MR spectroscopy (MRS), myelin water fraction (MWF), Magnetization Transfer Imaging, and Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping were myelin-sensitive in different ways, giving complementary information for characterising WM microstructure with different underlying fibre architecture. From the diffusion parameters, neurite density (NODDI) was found to be more sensitive than fractional anisotropy (FA), underlining the limitation of FA in WM crossing fibre regions. In terms of sensitivity to different myelin content, we found that MWF, the mean diffusivity and chemical-shift imaging based MRS yielded the best discrimination between areas.

Conclusion

Multimodal assessment of WM microstructure was possible within clinically feasible scan times using a broad combination of quantitative microstructural MRI sequences. By assessing new microstructural WM parameters we were able to provide normative data and discuss their interpretation in regions with different myelin architecture, as well as their possible application as biomarker for WM disorders.

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Bibtex

@ARTICLE{Groeschel:PLOS2016,
    author = {Gr{\"o}schel, Samuel and Hagberg, Gisela E. and Schultz, Thomas and Balla, D{\'a}vid Z. and Klose, Uwe and
              Hauser, Till-Karsten and N{\"a}gele, Thomas and Bieri, Oliver and Prasloski, Thomas and MacKay, Alex L.
              and Kr{\"a}geloh-Mann, Ingeborg and Scheffler, Klaus},
     pages = {e0167274},
     title = {Assessing White Matter Microstructure in Brain Regions with Different Myelin Architecture Using MRI},
   journal = {PLOS ONE},
    volume = {11},
    number = {11},
      year = {2016},
  abstract = {Objective
              
              We investigate how known differences in myelin architecture between regions along the cortico-spinal
              tract and frontal white matter (WM) in 19 healthy adolescents are reflected in several quantitative
              MRI parameters that have been proposed to non-invasively probe WM microstructure. In a clinically
              feasible scan time, both conventional imaging sequences as well as microstructural MRI parameters
              were assessed in order to quantitatively characterise WM regions that are known to differ in the
              thickness of their myelin sheaths, and in the presence of crossing or parallel fibre organisation.
              
              Results
              
              We found that diffusion imaging, MR spectroscopy (MRS), myelin water fraction (MWF), Magnetization
              Transfer Imaging, and Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping were myelin-sensitive in different ways,
              giving complementary information for characterising WM microstructure with different underlying
              fibre architecture. From the diffusion parameters, neurite density (NODDI) was found to be more
              sensitive than fractional anisotropy (FA), underlining the limitation of FA in WM crossing fibre
              regions. In terms of sensitivity to different myelin content, we found that MWF, the mean
              diffusivity and chemical-shift imaging based MRS yielded the best discrimination between areas.
              
              Conclusion
              
              Multimodal assessment of WM microstructure was possible within clinically feasible scan times using
              a broad combination of quantitative microstructural MRI sequences. By assessing new microstructural
              WM parameters we were able to provide normative data and discuss their interpretation in regions
              with different myelin architecture, as well as their possible application as biomarker for WM
              disorders.}
}