Compressed Sensing Diffusion Spectrum Imaging for Accelerated Diffusion Microstructure MRI in Long-Term Population Imaging.Front Neurosci 2018; 12:650FN
Mapping non-invasively the complex microstructural architecture of the living human brain, diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) is one of the core imaging modalities in current population studies. For the application in longitudinal population imaging, the dMRI protocol should deliver reliable data with maximum potential for future analysis. With the recent introduction of novel MRI hardware, advanced dMRI acquisition strategies can be applied within reasonable scan time. In this work we conducted a pilot study based on the requirements for high resolution dMRI in a long-term and high throughput population study. The key question was: can diffusion spectrum imaging accelerated by compressed sensing theory (CS-DSI) be used as an advanced imaging protocol for microstructure dMRI in a long-term population imaging study? As a minimum requirement we expected a high level of agreement of several diffusion metrics derived from both CS-DSI and a 3-shell high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) acquisition, an established imaging strategy used in other population studies. A wide spectrum of state-of-the-art diffusion processing and analysis techniques was applied to the pilot study data including quantitative diffusion and microstructural parameter mapping, fiber orientation estimation and white matter fiber tracking. When considering diffusion weighted images up to the same maximum diffusion weighting for both protocols, group analysis across 20 subjects indicates that CS-DSI performs comparable to 3-shell HARDI in the estimation of diffusion and microstructural parameters. Further, both protocols provide similar results in the estimation of fiber orientations and for local fiber tracking. CS-DSI provides high radial resolution while maintaining high angular resolution and it is well-suited for analysis strategies that require high b-value acquisitions, such as CHARMED modeling and biomarkers from the diffusion propagator.