BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: DTI data of the normal healthy spinal cord in children are limited compared with adults and are typically focused on the cervical spinal cord. The purpose of this study was the following: To investigate the feasibility of obtaining repeatable DTI parameters along the entire cervical and thoracic spinal cord as a function of age in typically developing pediatric subjects; to analyze the DTI parameters among different transverse levels of the cervical and thoracic spinal cord; and to examine the sex differences in DTI parameters along the cervical and thoracic spinal cord. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-Two subjects underwent 2 identical scans by using a 3T MR imaging scanner. Axial diffusion tensor images were acquired by using 2 overlapping slabs to cover the cervical and thoracic spinal cord. After postprocessing, DTI parameters were calculated by using ROIs drawn on the whole cord along the entire spinal cord for both scans. RESULTS: An increase in fractional anisotropy and a decrease in mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were observed with age along the entire spinal cord. Significantly lower fractional anisotropy and higher mean diffusivity values were observed in the lower cervical cord compared with the upper cervical cord. Axial diffusivity values in the cervical cord were higher compared with the thoracic cord. No statistically significant sex differences were observed for all DTI parameters. There was a moderate-To-strong repeatability for all DTI parameters. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides an initial understanding of DTI values of the spinal cord relevant to age and sex and shows that obtaining repeatable DTI values of the entire cord in children is feasible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology