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Abstract #1046

Diffusion-Weighted MRI Characterization of White Matter Injury Produced by Axon-Sparing Demyelination and Contusion Spinal Cord Injury in Rats

Jason F. Talbott1, Yvette Nout2, Michael Wendland1, Pratik Mukherjee1, Jacqueline Bresnahan3, 4, Michael Beattie3, 4

1Radiology, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, United States; 2Animal and Veterinary Sciences, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Pomona, CA; 3Neurological Surgery, UCSF, San Francisco, CA; 4Brain and Spinal Injury Center, San Francisco, CA

Recent literature suggests that diffusion weighted imaging may distinguish demyelination from white matter injury with associated axon injury, thus serving as a powerful in-vivo biomarker for white matter integrity. Using a model of focal axon-sparing demyelination, we evaluate diffusion parameters utilizing in-vivo MRI with correlative histologic and immunohistochemical analysis. Further, demyelinating injury is compared with severe white matter contusion injury during acute and chronic time points. Interestingly, we find that diffusion parameters are sensitive, but not specific markers of white matter injury and cannot distinguish pure demyelination from severe combined axonal and myelin white matter injury during the acute phase.