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Abstract #0053

Imaging gray matter in human brainstem in vivo by high spatial resolution Diffusion Tensor Imaging at 7 Tesla

Marta Bianciardi 1 , Nicola Toschi 1,2 , Cornelius Eichner 1 , Kawin Setsompop 1 , Florian Beissner 1 , Vitaly Napadow 1 , Jonathan R Polimeni 1 , and Lawrence L Wald 1

1 Department of Radiology, A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States, 2 Department of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

The human brainstem plays an important role in several vital functions, including sleep, and respiration. Our current knowledge of gray matter (GM) structure within the brainstem mostly derives from ex-vivo studies. Aim of this work was to develop novel in-vivo MRI-tools to identify GM-structure. We employed in-vivo high spatial-resolution DTI at 7Tesla, and scrutinized the contrast in DTI-maps, including fractional-anisotropy (FA). In single subject FA-maps, major clusters of brainstem-nuclei were visible with high contrast including the median-raphe-nucleus, the reticular-formation, and the vestibular/olivary/pontine nuclei. High-resolution DTI is a promising tool to delineate GM-structure in the brainstem in-vivo on a subject-by-subject basis.

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