Lampinen B, Zampeli A, Björkman-Burtscher IM, Szczepankiewicz F, Källén K, Strandberg MC, Nilsson M. Tensor-Valued Diffusion MRI Differentiates Cortex and White Matter in Malformations of Cortical Development Associated With Epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2020;61(8):1701–13.
OBJECTIVE: Delineation of malformations of cortical development (MCD) is central in presurgical evaluation of drug-resistant epilepsy. Delineation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be ambiguous, however, because the conventional T - and T -weighted contrasts depend strongly on myelin for differentiation of cortical tissue and white matter. Variations in myelin content within both cortex and white matter may cause MCD findings on MRI to change size, become undetectable, or disagree with histopathology. The novel tensor-valued diffusion MRI (dMRI) technique maps microscopic diffusion anisotropy, which is sensitive to axons rather than myelin. This work investigated whether tensor-valued dMRI may improve differentiation of cortex and white matter in the delineation of MCD. METHODS: Tensor-valued dMRI was performed on a 7 T MRI scanner in 13 MCD patients (age = 32 ± 13 years) featuring periventricular heterotopia, subcortical heterotopia, focal cortical dysplasia, and polymicrogyria. Data analysis yielded maps of microscopic anisotropy that were compared with T -weighted and T -fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images and with the fractional anisotropy from diffusion tensor imaging. RESULTS: Maps of microscopic anisotropy revealed large white matter-like regions within MCD that were uniformly cortex-like in the conventional MRI contrasts. These regions were seen particularly in the deep white matter parts of subcortical heterotopias and near the gray-white boundaries of focal cortical dysplasias and polymicrogyrias. SIGNIFICANCE: By being sensitive to axons rather than myelin, mapping of microscopic anisotropy may yield a more robust differentiation of cortex and white matter and improve MCD delineation in presurgical evaluation of epilepsy.Last updated on 02/24/2023