The development of accurate, non-invasive methods for mapping white matter fiber-tracts is of critical importance. However, fiber-tracking is typically performed on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data obtained with echo-planar-based imaging techniques (EPI), which suffer from susceptibility-related image artifacts, and image warping due to eddy-currents. Thus, a number of white matter fiber-bundles mapped using EPI-based DTI data are distorted and/or terminated early. This severely limits the clinical potential of fiber-tracking. In contrast, Turboprop-MRI provides images with significantly fewer susceptibility and eddy-current-related artifacts than EPI. The purpose of this work was to compare fiber-tracking results obtained from DTI data acquired with Turboprop-DTI and EPI-based DTI. It was shown that, in brain regions near magnetic field inhomogeneities, white matter fiber-bundles obtained with EPI-based DTI were distorted and/or partially detected, when magnetic susceptibility-induced distortions were not corrected. After correction, residual distortions were still present and several fiber-tracts remained partially detected. In contrast, when using Turboprop-DTI data, all traced fiber-tracts were in agreement with known anatomy. The inter-session reproducibility of tractography results was higher for Turboprop than EPI-based DTI data in regions near field inhomogeneities. Thus, Turboprop may be a more appropriate DTI data acquisition technique for tracing white matter fibers near regions with significant magnetic susceptibility differences, as well as in longitudinal studies of such fibers. However, the intra-session reproducibility of tractography results was higher for EPI-based than Turboprop DTI data. Thus, EPI-based DTI may be more advantageous for tracing fibers minimally affected by field inhomogeneities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience