We performed multi-b and multi-diffusion-time diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging on aquaporin-4-expressing (AQ) and -non-expressing (noAQ) cells, and demonstrated a clear difference between the signals from the two cell types. The data were interpreted using a two-compartment (intra and extracellular spaces) model including inter-compartmental exchange. It was also assumed that restricted diffusion of water molecules inside the cells leads to the intracellular diffusion coefficient being inversely proportional to the diffusion-time. Estimates of the water-exchange-times obtained with this model are compared to those measured using an independent optical imaging technique (coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering imaging, CARS). For both techniques it was found that the exchange-time estimated for the noAQ cells was significantly longer than that for the AQ cells.
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