The purpose of this study was to compare parameter estimates for the 2-compartment and diffusion kurtosis imaging models obtained from diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of aquaporin-4 (AQP4) expression-controlled cells, and to look for biomarkers that indicate differences in the cell membrane water permeability. DWI was performed on AQP4-expressing and non-expressing cells and the signal was analyzed with the 2-compartment and diffusion kurtosis imaging models. For the 2-compartment model, the diffusion coefficients (Df, Ds) and volume fractions (Ff, Fs, Ff = 1-Fs) of the fast and slow compartments were estimated. For the diffusion kurtosis imaging model, estimates of the diffusion kurtosis (K) and corrected diffusion coefficient (D) were obtained. For the 2-compartment model, Ds and Fs showed clear differences between AQP4-expressing and non-expressing cells. Fs was also sensitive to cell density. There was no clear relationship with the cell type for the diffusion kurtosis imaging model parameters. Changes to cell membrane water permeability due to AQP4 expression affected DWI of cell suspensions. For the 2-compartment and diffusion kurtosis imaging models, Ds was the parameter most sensitive to differences in AQP4 expression.
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