Imaging neural architecture of the brain based on its multipole magnetic response.
Although magnetic fields interact weakly with biological tissues, at high fields, this interaction is sufficiently strong to cause measurable shifts in the Larmor frequency among various tissue types. While measuring frequency shift and its anisotropy has enabled NMR spectroscopy to determine structures of large molecules, MRI has not been able to fully utilize the vast information existing in the frequency to elucidate tissue microstructure. Using a multipole analysis of the complex MRI signal in the Fourier spectral space, we developed a fast and high-resolution method that enables the quantification of tissue's magnetic response with a set of magnetic susceptibility tensors of various ranks. The Fourier spectral space, termed p-space, can be generated by applying field gradients or equivalently by shifting the k-space data in various directions. Measuring these tensors allows the visualization and quantification of tissue architecture. We performed 3D whole-brain multipole susceptibility tensor imaging in simulation, on intact mouse brains ex vivo and on human brains in vivo. We showed that these multipole susceptibility tensors can be used to image orientations of ordered white matter fibers. These experiments demonstrate that multipole tensor analysis may enable practical mapping of tissue microstructure in vivo without rotating subject or magnetic field.
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