The aim of the proposed research is to specify mechanisms of the anisotropic water diffusion in multi-compartmental nervous tissue of the spinal cord, and to correlate them with structure and state of the tissue.
The main investigations will be conducted on an animal model (a rat) in vivo, using a 4.7 T-Magnetic resonance imaging research system dedicated for small animals. Additionally, in vitro measurements using MR Microscope 11.7 T are planned on extracted spinal cord to specify details which will be difficult or impossible to perform in vivo.
Methods of the measurements of anisotropic diffusion, based on spin echo and ultra-short spin echo (UTE) will be used. Results will be correlated with relaxation times T2 and T1 and with histopathology of tissue. It will allow for discrimination between components of the diffusion originating from water of different mobility within myelin, as well as inside and outside axons.
Detailed measurements of the diffusion components in normal spinal cord together with simulations of the diffusion will be used for elaboration of the model of anisotropic diffusion, and for choosing optimal parameters for imaging of the components of the anisotropic and multi-compartmental diffusion in nervous tissue.
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