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Abstract #0698

Investigating white matter degeneration in healthy aging by combining diffusion-tensor imaging and diffusion-weighted spectroscopy in the human corpus callosum at 7 T

Francesca Branzoli 1 , Ece Ercan 2 , Emily T. Wood 3 , Mathijs Buijs 2 , Andrew Webb 2 , and Itamar Ronen 2

1 Centre de Neuro-imagerie de Recherche de lInstitut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere, Paris, France, 2 C. J. Gorter Center for High Field MRI, Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands, 3 Neuroimmunology Branch (NINDS), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States

In this study we compare the diffusion properties of water and the neuronal metabolite N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in the corpus callosum of elderly and young subjects, measured at 7T by combining diffusion tensor imaging and diffusion-weighted spectroscopy. Thanks to the specificity of NAA as a probe of intra-axonal space, the method employed here allows to distinguish axonopathy from other processes such as demyelination, which has been previously associated to the observed increase in water mean diffusivity and decrease in water fractional anisotropy in aging. The decrease in NAA axial diffusivity observed in aging for the first time in this study is likely to be related to the presence of structural disruptions associated with axonal degeneration in WM of elderly subjects.

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