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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 412-418

Feasibility of 3.0 T diffusion-weighted nuclear magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of functional recovery of rats with complete spinal cord injury


1 Second Department of Orthopedics, Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China
2 Department of Radiology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

Correspondence Address:
Xi-jing He
Second Department of Orthopedics, Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province
China
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Source of Support: This study was financially supported by a grant from the Shaanxi Provincial Science and Technology Research and Development Project, No. 2013K12-20-08., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.153689

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Diffusion tensor imaging is a sensitive way to reflect axonal necrosis and degeneration, glial cell regeneration and demyelination following spinal cord injury, and to display microstructure changes in the spinal cord in vivo. Diffusion tensor imaging technology is a sensitive method to diagnose spinal cord injury; fiber tractography visualizes the white matter fibers, and directly displays the structural integrity and resultant damage of the fiber bundle. At present, diffusion tensor imaging is restricted to brain examinations, and is rarely applied in the evaluation of spinal cord injury. This study aimed to explore the fractional anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging and the feasibility of diffusion tensor tractography in the evaluation of complete spinal cord injury in rats. The results showed that the average combined scores were obviously decreased after spinal cord transection in rats, and then began to increase over time. The fractional anisotropy scores after spinal cord transection in rats were significantly lower than those in normal rats (P < 0.05); the apparent diffusion coefficient was significantly increased compared with the normal group (P < 0.05). Following spinal cord transection, fractional anisotropy scores were negatively correlated with apparent diffusion coefficient values (r = -0.856, P < 0.01), and positively correlated with the average combined scores (r = 0.943, P < 0.01), while apparent diffusion coefficient values had a negative correlation with the average combined scores (r = -0.949, P < 0.01). Experimental findings suggest that, as a non-invasive examination, diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging can provide qualitative and quantitative information about spinal cord injury. The fractional anisotropy score and apparent diffusion coefficient have a good correlation with the average combined scores, which reflect functional recovery after spinal cord injury.


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