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Performances of diffusion kurtosis imaging and diffusion tensor imaging in detecting white matter abnormality in schizophrenia

Jiajia Zhu, Chuanjun Zhuo, Wen Qin, Di Wang, Xiaomei Ma, Yujing Zhou, Chunshui Yu
NeuroImage: Clinical 2015, 7: 170-6
25610778
Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) is an extension of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), exhibiting improved sensitivity and specificity in detecting developmental and pathological changes in neural tissues. However, little attention was paid to the performances of DKI and DTI in detecting white matter abnormality in schizophrenia. In this study, DKI and DTI were performed in 94 schizophrenia patients and 91 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. White matter integrity was assessed by fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD), mean kurtosis (MK), axial kurtosis (AK) and radial kurtosis (RK) of DKI and FA, MD, AD and RD of DTI. Group differences in these parameters were compared using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) (P < 0.01, corrected). The sensitivities in detecting white matter abnormality in schizophrenia were MK (34%) > AK (20%) > RK (3%) and RD (37%) > FA (24%) > MD (21%) for DKI, and RD (43%) > FA (30%) > MD (21%) for DTI. DKI-derived diffusion parameters (RD, FA and MD) were sensitive to detect abnormality in white matter regions (the corpus callosum and anterior limb of internal capsule) with coherent fiber arrangement; however, the kurtosis parameters (MK and AK) were sensitive to reveal abnormality in white matter regions (the juxtacortical white matter and corona radiata) with complex fiber arrangement. In schizophrenia, the decreased AK suggests axonal damage; however, the increased RD indicates myelin impairment. These findings suggest that diffusion and kurtosis parameters could provide complementary information and they should be jointly used to reveal pathological changes in schizophrenia.

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