In vivo investigation of restricted diffusion in the human brain with optimized oscillating diffusion gradient encoding




Previous studies in phantoms and animals using animal MR systems have shown promising results in using oscillating gradient spin echo (OGSE) diffusion acquisition to depict microstructure information. The OGSE approach has also been shown to be a sensitive biomarker of tumor treatment response and white matter-related diseases. Translating these studies to a human MR scanner faces multiple challenges due to the much weaker gradient system. The goals of this study are to optimize the OGSE acquisition for a human MR system and investigate its applicability in the in vivo human brain.


An analytical analysis of the OGSE modulation spectrum was provided. Based on this analysis and thorough simulation experiments, the OGSE acquisition was optimized in terms of diffusion waveform shape, waveform timing, and sequence timing—to achieve higher diffusion sensitivity and better sampling of the diffusion spectrum.


The trapezoid-cosine waveform was found to be the optimal OGSE waveform. At the three employed peak encoding frequencies of 18 Hz, 44 Hz, and 63 Hz, the waveform polarity for the least blurry sampling of the diffusion spectrum was 90+/180−, 90+/180+, and 90+/180+, respectively. For the highest diffusion-to-noise ratio at 63 Hz, the b-value was 200 s/mm2 and the echo time was 116 ms. Using the optimized sequence, a frequency dependence of the measured apparent diffusion coefficients was observed in white matter-dominant regions such as the corpus callosum.


The obtained results demonstrate, for the first time, the potential of using an OGSE acquisition for investigating microstructure information on a human MR system. Magn Reson Med 71:83–94, 2014. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.