Objective: Normative apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) metrics of the brain have been published previously. However, no larger studies evaluated the normal evolution of ADC/FA metrics of the maturing paediatric spinal cord. Goal of this study is to evaluate the age-dependent evolution of the ADC/FA values of the developing/maturing normal cervical spinal cord (CSC). Patients and methods: Forty-one subjects, aged less than 18 years with a negative spinal MRI study and no systemic central nervous disease, underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the CSC. DTI metrics were measured in the centre of the CSC. Regression and ANCOVA analyses were performed to evaluate the association between ADC/FA values and age and its potential modification by sex. Results: A linear model emerged as the best fit for our data. ADC showed a continuous decrease with age; FA showed a continuous increase with age. Conclusion: The simultaneous age-related ADC decrease and FA increase likely reflect progressive maturation, myelination and fibre packing within the CSC similar to that observed in the brain. Collection of age-dependent normative DTI metrics may be helpful in the early identification and quantification of altered water diffusion in a variety of pathologies affecting the developing paediatric spinal cord.
- Normative values
- Paediatric cervical spine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology