• trabecular bone;
  • imaging;
  • DDIF;
  • diffusion;
  • MRI contrast



To characterize the DDIF (Decay due to Diffusion in the Internal Field) method using intact animal trabecular bone specimens of varying trabecular structure and porosity, under ex vivo conditions closely resembling in vivo physiological conditions. The DDIF method provides a diffusion contrast which is related to the surface-to-volume ratio of the porous structure of bones. DDIF has previously been used successfully to study marrow-free trabecular bone, but the DDIF contrast hitherto had not been tested in intact specimens containing marrow and surrounded by soft tissue.

Materials and Methods:

DDIF imaging was implemented on a 4.7 Tesla (T) small-bore, horizontal, animal scanner. Ex vivo results on fresh bone specimens containing marrow were obtained at body temperature. Control measurements were carried out in surrounding tissue and saline.


Significant DDIF effect was observed for trabecular bone samples, while it was considerably smaller for soft tissue outside the bone and for lipids. Additionally, significant differences were observed between specimens of different trabecular structure.


The DDIF contrast is feasible despite the reduction of the diffusion constant and of T1 in such conditions, increasing our confidence that DDIF imaging in vivo may be clinically viable for bone characterization. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.