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Abstract #3362

Bi-directional changes in fractional anisotropy are associated with altered fiber tracts after experimental TBI

Neil G Harris1, Derek R Verley2, Boris A Gutman3, and Richard L Sutton1

1Neurosurgery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 2Neurosurgery, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 3Engineering, Radiology, & Ophthalmology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is now widely used in both clinical and experimental research for studying pathology related to traumatic brain injury. However, studies report a wide range of DTI indices that are not easily ascribed to post-injury time-point, injury severity or developmental stage. In order to provide further information to help interpret these often complex changes we obtained DTI data before and after TBI using the well-known, clinically relevant rodent controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of TBI. In addition to the expected decreases in fractional anisotropy (FA) around the primary injury site which were associated with myelin breakdown and neurofilament loss, we found significant increases in FA within subcortical regions that were not associated with gliosis or fiber tract degeneration. Fiber tract density was decreased in regions of lowered FA but significantly increased only in subcortical regions associated with increased FA. High FA region seeded for tractography yielded significantly increased fiber length compared to pre-injury. These data provide additional insight into the interpretation of DTI indices following TBI.

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