2018 Volume 17 Issue 2 Pages 138-144
Purpose: Diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) enables sensitive measurement of tissue microstructure by quantifying the non-Gaussian diffusion of water. Although DKI is widely applied in many situations, histological correlation with DKI analysis is lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between DKI metrics and neurite density measured using confocal microscopy of a cleared mouse brain.
Methods: One thy-1 yellow fluorescent protein 16 mouse was deeply anesthetized and perfusion fixation was performed. The brain was carefully dissected out and whole-brain MRI was performed using a 7T animal MRI system. DKI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were obtained. After the MRI scan, brain sections were prepared and then cleared using aminoalcohols (CUBIC). Confocal microscopy was performed using a two-photon confocal microscope with a laser. Forty-eight ROIs were set on the caudate putamen, seven ROIs on the anterior commissure, and seven ROIs on the ventral hippocampal commissure on the confocal microscopic image and a corresponding MR image. In each ROI, histological neurite density and the metrics of DKI and DTI were calculated. The correlations between diffusion metrics and neurite density were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficient analysis.
Results: Mean kurtosis (MK) (P = 5.2 × 10−9, r = 0.73) and radial kurtosis (P = 2.3 × 10−9, r = 0.74) strongly correlated with neurite density in the caudate putamen. The correlation between fractional anisotropy (FA) and neurite density was moderate (P = 0.0030, r = 0.42). In the anterior commissure and the ventral hippocampal commissure, neurite density and FA are very strongly correlated (P = 1.3 × 10−5, r = 0.90). MK in these areas were very high value and showed no significant correlation (P = 0.48).
Conclusion: DKI accurately reflected neurite density in the area with crossing fibers, potentially allowing evaluation of complex microstructures.