Visualization of peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration: Monitoring with diffusion tensor tractography

Takehiko Takagi, Masaya Nakamura, Masayuki Yamada, Keigo Hikishima, Suketaka Momoshima, Kanehiro Fujiyoshi, Shinsuke Shibata, Hirotaka James Okano, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hideyuki Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

176 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We applied diffusion tensor tractography (DTT), a recently developed MRI technique that reveals the microstructures of tissues based on its ability to monitor the random movements of water molecules, to the visualization of peripheral nerves after injury. The rat sciatic nerve was subjected to contusive injury, and the data obtained from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were used to determine the tracks of nerve fibers (DTT). The DTT images obtained using the fractional anisotropy (FA) threshold value of 0.4 clearly revealed the recovery process of the contused nerves. Immediately after the injury, fiber tracking from the designated proximal site could not be continued beyond the lesion epicenter, but the intensity improved thereafter, returning to its pre-injury level by 3 weeks later. We compared the FA value, a parameter computed from the DTT data, with the results of histological and functional examinations of the injured nerves, during recovery. The FA values of the peripheral nerves were more strongly correlated with axon-related (axon density and diameter) than with myelin-related (myelin density and thickness) parameters, supporting the theories that axonal membranes play a major role in anisotropic water diffusion and that myelination can modulate the degree of anisotropy. Moreover, restoration of the FA value at the lesion epicenter was strongly correlated with parameters of motor and sensory functional recovery. These correlations of the FA values with both the histological and functional changes demonstrate the potential usefulness of DTT for evaluating clinical events associated with Wallerian degeneration and the regeneration of peripheral nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-892
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 1

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Nerve Degeneration
Nerve Regeneration
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Anisotropy
Peripheral Nerves
Myelin Sheath
Axons
Wounds and Injuries
Wallerian Degeneration
Water Movements
Peripheral Nerve Injuries
Contusions
Sciatic Nerve
Nerve Fibers
Regeneration
Membranes
Water

Keywords

  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Diffusion tensor tractography
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Wallerian degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Cite this

Visualization of peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration : Monitoring with diffusion tensor tractography. / Takagi, Takehiko; Nakamura, Masaya; Yamada, Masayuki; Hikishima, Keigo; Momoshima, Suketaka; Fujiyoshi, Kanehiro; Shibata, Shinsuke; Okano, Hirotaka James; Toyama, Yoshiaki; Okano, Hideyuki.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 44, No. 3, 01.02.2009, p. 884-892.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Takagi, Takehiko ; Nakamura, Masaya ; Yamada, Masayuki ; Hikishima, Keigo ; Momoshima, Suketaka ; Fujiyoshi, Kanehiro ; Shibata, Shinsuke ; Okano, Hirotaka James ; Toyama, Yoshiaki ; Okano, Hideyuki. / Visualization of peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration : Monitoring with diffusion tensor tractography. In: NeuroImage. 2009 ; Vol. 44, No. 3. pp. 884-892.
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