We sought to investigate white matter abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI). We applied a global approach based on tract-based spatial statistics skeleton as well as constrained spherical deconvolution tractography. DW-MRI was performed on 102 patients with mTBI within two months post-injury and 30 control subjects. A robust global approach considering only the voxels with a single-fiber configuration was used in addition to global analysis of the tract skeleton and probabilistic whole-brain tractography. In addition, we assessed whether the microstructural parameters correlated with age, time from injury, patient's outcome and white matter MRI hyperintensities. We found that whole-brain global approach restricted to single-fiber voxels showed significantly decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) (p = 0.002) and increased radial diffusivity (p = 0.011) in patients with mTBI compared with controls. The results restricted to single-fiber voxels were more significant and reproducible than those with the complete tract skeleton or the whole-brain tractography. FA correlated with patient outcomes, white matter hyperintensities and age. No correlation was observed between FA and time of scan post-injury. In conclusion, the global approach could be a promising imaging biomarker to detect white matter abnormalities following traumatic brain injury.
- Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging
- Global approach
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Probabilistic tractography
- Traumatic brain injury