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Keywords:

  • MRI;
  • DTI;
  • dystonia;
  • group tractography;
  • registration

Abstract

Purpose:

To make a group comparison of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) results of dystonia patients and controls to reveal occult pathology. We propose using an early registration method that produces sharper group images and enables us to do group tractography.

Materials and Methods:

Twelve dystonia patients manifesting the disease, seven nonmanifesting dystonia mutation carriers (DYT1 and DYT6 gene mutations), and eight age-matched normal control subjects were imaged for a previous study. Early and late registration methods for DTI were compared. An early registration technique for a super set was proposed, in which the diffusion-weighted images were registered to a template, gradient vectors were reoriented for each subject, and they were combined into a super set before tensor calculation. The super set included images from all subjects and was useful for group comparisons. We used results obtained from the early registration of a super set for group analysis of tracts using the deterministic fiber-tracking technique.

Results:

In dystonia mutation carriers, we detected fewer fibers in the cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways. This result agrees well with the findings of a previous study that utilized a probabilistic tractography method and demonstrated that gene carriers have less fiber tracts in the disease-involved pathway.

Conclusion:

This analysis visualized group level white matter fractional anisotropy and tract differences between dystonia patients and controls, and can be useful in understanding the pathophysiology of other nonfocal white matter diseases. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;37:67–75. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.