M. Waleed Gaber1, 2, Khushali Kotedia1, Stephen T.C. Wong3, 4, Kelvin K. Wong3, 4
1Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX, United States; 2Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States; 3Department of Systems Medicine & Bioengineering, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, TX, United States; 4Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, United States
In vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of spinal cord is a unique tool to probe the neuronal integrity of the spinal cord in rodent models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and traumatic spinal cord injury. Due to the small size of spinal cord and respiratory artifact, it is very challenging to reliably study the spinal cord with DTI in rodents. Current techniques exploit the high fiber coherence along the spinal cord and focus mainly on slice selective acquisition technique. To study the subtle neuronal integrity locally, a 3D DTI technique is desirable. In this paper, we present a respiratory-gated segmented 3D echo planar diffusion tensor imaging technique to study the mouse and rat spinal cord in vivo. Preliminary studies showed high quality DTI maps and the data are consistent with literature values.