Diffusion tensor imaging of time-dependent axonal and myelin degradation after corpus callosotomy in epilepsy patients.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, 1098 Research Transition Facility, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2V2.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 10/2006; 32(3):1090-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.04.187
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Axonal degeneration of white matter fibers is a key consequence of neuronal or axonal injury. It is characterized by a series of time-related events with initial axonal membrane collapse followed by myelin degradation being its major hallmarks. Standard imaging cannot differentiate these phenomena, which would be useful for clinical investigations of degeneration, regeneration and plasticity. Animal models suggest that diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI) is capable of making such distinction. The applicability of this technique in humans would permit inferences on white matter microanatomy using a non-invasive technique. The surgical bisection of the anterior 2/3 of the corpus callosum for the palliative treatment of certain types of epilepsy serves as a unique opportunity to assess this method in humans. DTI was performed on three epilepsy patients before corpus callosotomy and at two time points (1 week and 2-4 months) after surgery. Tractography was used to define voxels of interest for analysis of mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy and eigenvalues. Diffusion anisotropy was reduced in a spatially dependent manner in the genu and body of the corpus callosum at 1 week and remained low 2-4 months after the surgery. Decreased anisotropy at 1 week was due to a reduction in parallel diffusivity (consistent with axonal fragmentation), whereas at 2-4 months, it was due to an increase in perpendicular diffusivity (consistent with myelin degradation). DTI is capable of non-invasively detecting, staging and following the microstructural degradation of white matter following axonal injury.

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    ABSTRACT: Sex differences in the relationship between general intelligence and brain structure are a topic of increasing research interest. Early studies focused mainly on gray and white matter differences using voxel-based morphometry, while more recent studies investigated neural fiber tracts using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to analyze the white matter microstructure. In this study we used tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) on DTI to test how intelligence is associated with brain diffusion indices and to see whether this relationship differs between men and women. 63 Men and women divided into groups of lower and higher intelligence were selected. Whole-brain DTI scans were analyzed using TBSS calculating maps of fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD). The results reveal that the white matter microstructure differs between individuals as a function of intelligence and sex. In men, higher intelligence was related to higher FA and lower RD in the corpus callosum. In women, in contrast, intelligence was not related to the white matter microstructure. The higher values of FA and lower values of RD suggest that intelligence is associated with higher myelination and/or a higher number of axons particularly in men. This microstructural difference in the corpus callosum may increase cognitive functioning by reducing inter-hemispheric transfer time and thus account for more efficient brain functioning in men.
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Jun 1, 2014