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Abstract #2039

Biophysical modeling of ex vivo diffusion MRI for the longitudinal characterization of axonal degeneration in the optic nerve 

Ricardo Coronado-Leija1, Santiago Coelho1, Omar Narvaez2, Jorge Larriva-Sahd3, Alonso Ramirez-Manzanares4, Luis Concha3, Dmitry S. Novikov1, and Els Fieremans1
1Radiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States, 2University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland, 3Instituto de Neurobiologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Queretaro, Mexico, 4Centro de Investigacion en Matematicas, Guanajuato, Mexico

In this work, we evaluated the parameters of the Standard Model (SM), augmented with a free water compartment, on ex vivo diffusion MRI, to detect longitudinal changes caused by axonal degeneration. Parameters of SM were estimated from the rotational invariants of the diffusion signal using a supervised machine learning approach. Axonal degeneration was induced by nerve injury using a rat retinal ischemia model. Comparisons with 2D histology derived metrics revealed that SM parameters are sensitive to changes caused by axonal degeneration, particularly axon loss. SM parameters also reveal presence of microglia, and increased orientation dispersion.

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