Diffusional anisotropy in cranial nerves with maturation: Quantitative evaluation with diffusion MR imaging in rats

M. Takahashi, J. Ono, K. Harada, M. Maeda, D. B. Hackney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To investigate the correlation between diffusional anisotropy and developmental changes in anatomy, which include myelination, in central and peripheral nerves in an animal model by using quantitative diffusion magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and electron microscopy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In vivo transverse and longitudinal apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) of the optic and trigeminal nerves in 2-10-week-old rats were measured with MR imaging. Then the animals were sacrificed at each time point, and transverse and longitudinal sections of optic and trigeminal nerves were studied with electron microscopy. RESULTS: In the optic nerve, the ADC parallel to the neurofibers increased with development and increased contemporaneously with myelination, while the ADC perpendicular to the nerve did not change. This resulted in a significant increase in diffusional anisotropy. There were no significant changes in ADCs in either direction in the trigeminal nerve. Longitudinal sections of optic nerve showed a marked change in the orientation of each fiber. As development proceeded, the axons, which initially followed tortuous courses, assumed straighter and more parallel orientations. Trigeminal nerves displayed straight parallel courses at 2 weeks that did not change over the study period. CONCLUSlON: Changes in fiber anatomy in maturation from tortuous to straighter and more parallel orientation can account for changes in longitudinal ADC and in diffusional anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-885
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Animals
  • Nerves, MR
  • Nerves, cranial
  • Nerves, optic
  • Nerves, trigeminal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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