Event Abstract

Analysis and modeling of isotropic partial volume effects in diffusion MRI

  • 1 University of Antwerp, Department of Physics, Belgium
  • 2 University Medical Center Utrecht, Image Sciences Institute, Netherlands
  • 3 University of Ghent, Department of Telecommunications and Information Processing, Belgium

Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) is a noninvasive method, which can be used to detect neural tracts in the white matter (WM) of the brain (Jones, 2010). However, DW-MRI is prone to large partial volume effects (PVE) due to its large voxel size (Alexander et al. 2001). PVEs can be caused both by non-WM tissue, such as gray matter (GM) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and by multiple nonparallel fiber populations in the white matter.

To overcome PVEs caused by multiple nonparallel fiber configurations in WM, high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) methods have been developed (Jeurissen et al., 2012). However, HARDI-methods typically do not account for PVEs caused by non-white matter (WM) tissue, such as gray matter and cerebrospinal fluid, which can be considerable at the borders of the WM (Metzler-Baddeley et al., 2012).

In this work, we studied the effect of PVEs with non-WM tissue on constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD) (Tournier et al., 2004; Tournier et al., 2007), which estimates the full fiber orientation distribution function. By means of non-negativity constraints, this ill-posed problem can be solved reliably on clinically feasible HARDI data.

However, the presence of non-WM tissue invalidates the deconvolution model designed for WM and the non-negativity constraints, and thus causes high variability in the detected fiber orientations and emergence of a high number of false peaks.

We propose a method to make CSD more robust to PVEs with non-WM tissue. The proposed method eliminates the isotropic fraction from the measurements before the estimation of the fiber orientation distribution with CSD. The results show improvement in accuracy and precision of the estimated fiber orientations, and in addition a significant reduction in the number of false peaks found. The improvements are the most prominent with high isotropic fractions.

In conclusion, we showed the effects of non-WM PVEs and proposed a solution to improve the fiber orientation estimation results.


This work was supported by the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders (FWO), and by the Interuniversity Attraction Poles Program (P7/11) initiated by the Belgian Science Policy Office.


Alexander, A. L., Hasan, K. M., Lazar, M., Tsuruda, J. S., Parker, D. L. Analysis of partial volume effects in diffusion‐tensor MRI, 2001, Magnet. Reson. Med., 45(5):770-780.

Jeurissen, B., Leemans, A., Tournier, J. D., Jones, D. K., Sijbers, J. Investigating the prevalence of complex fiber configurations in white matter tissue with diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, 2012, Hum. Brain Mapp.. In press.

Jones, D. K., ed. Diffusion MRI : Theory, Methods, Applications, 2010, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Metzler-Baddeley, C., O'Sullivan, M. J., Bells, S., Pasternak, O., Jones, D. K. How and how not to correct for CSF-contamination in diffusion MRI, 2012, Neuroimage, 59(2):1394-1403.

Tournier, J. D., Calamante, F., Gadian, D. G., Connelly, A. Direct estimation of the fiber orientation density function from diffusion-weighted MRI data using spherical deconvolution, 2004, NeuroImage, 23(3):1176-1185.

Tournier, J. D., Calamante, F., Connelly, A. Robust determination of the fibre orientation distribution in diffusion MRI: non-negativity constrained super-resolved spherical deconvolution, 2007, NeuroImage, 35(4):1459-1472.

Keywords: Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, constrained spherical deconvolution, partial volume effects, Fiber Orientation, isotropic fraction

Conference: Imaging the brain at different scales: How to integrate multi-scale structural information?, Antwerp, Belgium, 2 Sep - 6 Sep, 2013.

Presentation Type: Poster presentation

Topic: Magnetic resonance imaging and fiber analysis

Citation: Roine T, Jeurissen B, Leemans A, Philips W and Sijbers J (2013). Analysis and modeling of isotropic partial volume effects in diffusion MRI. Front. Neuroinform. Conference Abstract: Imaging the brain at different scales: How to integrate multi-scale structural information?. doi: 10.3389/conf.fninf.2013.10.00027

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Received: 30 Jul 2013; Published Online: 31 Aug 2013.

* Correspondence: Mr. Timo Roine, University of Antwerp, Department of Physics, Antwerp, Belgium, timo.roine@gmail.com