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Visualization and microstructural Analysis of the Auditory nerve and Central auditory pathways using Diffusion tensor imaging – Results and Perspectives
18 April 2018 (online)
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) represents a new neuroimaging technique to visualize neural pathways non-invasively and to characterize their diffusion properties on a microscopic level. It allows to draw conclusion about the microstructure, organization and density of white matter tracts and has had an enormous impact in the field of neuroradiology. In ENT, however, only few DTI studies have been published to date.
15 healthy, normal-hearing subjects were scanned on a 3 Tesla MRI Scanner. We obtained diffusion weighted images with a voxel size of 1,5 × 1,5 × 1,5mm3 and diffusion encoding in 30 directions. After defining and applying regions of interest, fiber bundles of the auditory nerve, the arcuate fasciculus and the interhemispheric auditory pathway were extracted. Subsequently, diffusion parameters, namely fractional anisotropy (FA), Trace, axial and radial diffusivity, were calculated.
Besides the interhemispheric auditory pathway, which runs through the corpus callosum, the bilateral arcuate fasciculus was delineated as well as its structural asymmetries. Moreover, the auditory nerve was visualized and analyzed for the first time in a study cohort of this size.
Diffusion tensor imaging represents a notable new approach for the investigation of the auditory nerve and central auditory pathways on a microscopic level. It is likely to make a valuable contribution to the investigation of different diseases of the auditory system in the future.