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Comparing Free Water Imaging and Magnetization Transfer Measurements in Schizophrenia

1Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
2Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
3VA Boston Healthcare System, Brockton, MA, USA.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Schizophr Res
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Schizophr Res. 2015 Jan;161(1):126-32.
PubMed ID:
Fiber based analysis, Free water imaging, Human brain, MTR, Schizophrenia, White matter
Appears in Collections:
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P41 RR013218/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH074794/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Mandl R.C.W., Pasternak O., Cahn W., Kubicki M., Kahn R.S., Shenton M.E., Hulshoff Pol H.E. Comparing Free Water Imaging and Magnetization Transfer Measurements in Schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2015 Jan;161(1):126-32. PMID: 25454797. PMCID: PMC4277708.
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Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) has been extensively used to study the microarchitecture of white matter in schizophrenia. However, popular DWI-derived measures such as fractional anisotropy (FA) may be sensitive to many types of pathologies, and thus the interpretation of reported differences in these measures remains difficult. Combining DWI with magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) - a putative measure of white matter myelination - can help us reveal the underlying mechanisms. Previous findings hypothesized that MTR differences in schizophrenia are associated with free water concentrations, which also affect the DWIs. In this study we use a recently proposed DWI-derived method called free-water imaging to assess this hypothesis. We have reanalyzed data from a previous study by using a fiber-based analysis of free-water imaging, providing a free-water fraction, as well as mean diffusivity and FA corrected for free-water, in addition to MTR along twelve major white matter fiber bundles in 40 schizophrenia patients and 40 healthy controls. We tested for group differences in each fiber bundle and for each measure separately and computed correlations between the MTR and the DWI-derived measures separately for both groups. Significant higher average MTR values in patients were found for the right uncinate fasciculus, the right arcuate fasciculus and the right inferior-frontal occipital fasciculus. No significant results were found for the other measures. No significant differences in correlations were found between MTR and the DWI-derived measures. The results suggest that MTR and free-water imaging measures can be considered complementary, promoting the acquisition of MTR in addition to DWI to identify group differences, as well as to better understand the underlying mechanisms in schizophrenia.

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