Volume E96.D (2013) Issue 6 Pages 1387-1393
Diffusion-weighted (DW)-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a recently reported technique for measuring neural activities by using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). DW-fMRI is based on the property that cortical cells swell when the brain is activated. This approach can be used to observe changes in water diffusion around cortical cells. The spatial and temporal resolutions of DW-fMRI are superior to those of blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD)-fMRI. To investigate how the DWI signal intensities change in DW-fMRI measurement, we carried out Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate the intensities before and after cell swelling. In the simulations, we modeled cortical cells as two compartments by considering differences between the intracellular and the extracellular regions. Simulation results suggested that DWI signal intensities increase after cell swelling because of an increase in the intracellular volume ratio. The simulation model with two compartments, which respectively represent the intracellular and the extracellular regions, shows that the differences in the DWI signal intensities depend on the ratio of the intracellular and the extracellular volumes. We also investigated the MPG parameters, b-value, and separation time dependences on the percent signal changes in DW-fMRI and obtained useful results for DW-fMRI measurements.