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Abstract #0631

The sensitivity of diffusion MRI in direct detection neuronal activity: an in-vitro assessment

Ruiliang Bai1,2, Craig Stewart3, Dietmar Plenz3, and Peter J Basser1

1Section on Quantitative Imaging and Tissue Science, DIBGI, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States, 2Biophysics Program, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States, 3Section on Critical Brain Dynamics, LSN, NIMH, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States

Diffusion MRI has been proposed as a noninvasive neuroimaging method to detect neuronal activity more directly than BOLD fMRI, yet, initial findings have proven difficult to interpret and reproduce. Here, we study the possible relationship between water diffusion and neuronal activity by simultaneous intracellular calcium fluorescence imaging and diffusion MR of organotypic rat brain cortex cultures. Although we found that diffusion MR can follow pathological changes during hyperexcitability, e.g., as those seen in epilepsy or during anoxia, it does not appear to be sensitive or specific enough to detect or follow normal neuronal activity.

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