Diffusion heterogeneity tensor MRI (α-DTI): Mathematics and initial applications in spinal cord regeneration after trauma

Benjamin M. Ellingson, Brian D. Schmit, Krishnaj Gourab, Maya Sieber-Blum, Yao F. Hu, Kathleen M. Schmainda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is a powerful tool for evaluation of microstructural anomalies in numerous central nervous system pathologies. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows for the magnitude and direction of water self diffusion to be estimated by sampling the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in various directions. Clinical DWI and DTI performed at a single level of diffusion weighting, however, does not allow for multiple diffusion compartments to be elicited. Furthermore, assumptions made regarding the precise number of diffusion compartments intrinsic to the tissue of interest have resulted in a lack of consensus between investigations. To overcome these challenges, a stretched-exponential model of diffusion was applied to examine the diffusion coefficient and "heterogeneity index" within highly compartmentalized brain tumors. The purpose of the current study is to expand on the stretched-exponential model of diffusion to include directionality of both diffusion heterogeneity and apparent diffusion coefficient. This study develops the mathematics of this new technique along with an initial application in quantifying spinal cord regeneration following acute injection of epidermal neural crest stem cell (EPI-NCSC) grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha-DWI
  • DTI
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinal cord regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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