Practical visualization of internal structure of white matter for image interpretation: Staining a spin-echo T2-weighted image with three echo-planar diffusion-weighted images

Hajime Tamura, Syouki Takahashi, Noriko Kurihara, Shogo Yamada, Jun Hatazawa, Toshio Okudera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To our knowledge, no method satisfactory for clinical use has been developed to visualize white matter fiber tracts with diffusion-weighted MR imaging. The purpose of this study was to determine whether superposition of a spin-echo T2-weighted image and a color-coded image derived from three orthogonal diffusion-weighted images could show fiber tract architecture of the brain with an image quality appropriate for accurate reading with a computer monitor. METHODS: MR images from 50 consecutive cases were reviewed. Three diffusion-weighted images per section were acquired with three orthogonal motion-probing gradients. These images were registered to a corresponding spin-echo T2-weighted image. A color-coded image was synthesized from three diffusion-weighted images by assigning red, green, or blue to each diffusion-weighted image and then adding a spin-echo T2-weighted image with a weighting factor. The ability of the superposed image to delineate the white matter pathways was evaluated on the basis of the known anatomy of these pathways and qualitatively compared with that of the spin-echo T2-weighted image. RESULTS: The main white matter fiber pathways, in particular the superior longitudinal fascicle, corpus callosum, tapetum, optic radiation, and internal capsule, were more clearly and easily identified on the superposed image than on the spin-echo T2-weighted image. The time required to produce the superposed image was approximately 40 minutes. CONCLUSION: Superposition of a spin-echo T2-weighted image and a color-coded image created from three orthogonal diffusion-weighted images showed structures of the brain that were not clearly visible on the spin-echo T2-weighted image alone. Such superposition presents images that are easy to interpret correctly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-409
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Mar 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology

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