Dependence of temporal diffusion spectra on microstructural properties of biological tissues.

Research paper by Junzhong J Xu, Mark D MD Does, John C JC Gore

Indexed on: 07 Dec '10Published on: 07 Dec '10Published in: Magnetic Resonance Imaging


The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measured using magnetic resonance imaging methods provides information on microstructural properties of biological tissues, and thus has found applications as a useful biomarker for assessing changes such as those that occur in ischemic stroke and cancer. Conventional pulsed gradient spin echo methods are in widespread use and provide information on, for example, variations in cell density. The oscillating gradient spin echo (OGSE) method has the additional ability to probe diffusion behaviors more readily at short diffusion times, and the temporal diffusion spectrum obtained by the OGSE method provides a unique tool for characterizing tissues over different length scales, including structural features of intracellular spaces. It has previously been reported that several tissue properties can affect ADC measurements significantly, and the precise biophysical mechanisms that account for ADC changes in different situations are still unclear. Those factors may vary in importance depending on the time and length scale over which measurements are made. In the present work, a comprehensive numerical simulation is used to investigate the dependence of the temporal diffusion spectra measured by OGSE methods on different microstructural properties of biological tissues, including cell size, cell membrane permeability, intracellular volume fraction, intranucleus and intracytoplasm diffusion coefficients, nuclear size and T(2) relaxation times. Some unique characteristics of the OGSE method at relatively high frequencies are revealed. The results presented in the paper offer a framework for better understanding possible causes of diffusion changes and may be useful to assist the interpretation of diffusion data from OGSE measurements.