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NMR Biomed 2020 10 29;33(10):e4353. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Computational Science and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

The complex transverse water proton magnetization subject to diffusion-encoding magnetic field gradient pulses in a heterogeneous medium such as brain tissue can be modeled by the Bloch-Torrey partial differential equation. The spatial integral of the solution of this equation in realistic geometry provides a gold-standard reference model for the diffusion MRI signal arising from different tissue micro-structures of interest. A closed form representation of this reference diffusion MRI signal called matrix formalism, which makes explicit the link between the Laplace eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of the biological cell and its diffusion MRI signal, was derived 20 years ago. In addition, once the Laplace eigendecomposition has been computed and saved, the diffusion MRI signal can be calculated for arbitrary diffusion-encoding sequences and b-values at negligible additional cost. Up to now, this representation, though mathematically elegant, has not been often used as a practical model of the diffusion MRI signal, due to the difficulties of calculating the Laplace eigendecomposition in complicated geometries. In this paper, we present a simulation framework that we have implemented inside the MATLAB-based diffusion MRI simulator SpinDoctor that efficiently computes the matrix formalism representation for realistic neurons using the finite element method. We show that the matrix formalism representation requires a few hundred eigenmodes to match the reference signal computed by solving the Bloch-Torrey equation when the cell geometry originates from realistic neurons. As expected, the number of eigenmodes required to match the reference signal increases with smaller diffusion time and higher b-values. We also convert the eigenvalues to a length scale and illustrate the link between the length scale and the oscillation frequency of the eigenmode in the cell geometry. We give the transformation that links the Laplace eigenfunctions to the eigenfunctions of the Bloch-Torrey operator and compute the Bloch-Torrey eigenfunctions and eigenvalues. This work is another step in bringing advanced mathematical tools and numerical method development to the simulation and modeling of diffusion MRI.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nbm.4353 | DOI Listing |

October 2020

Neuroimage 2019 11 27;202:116120. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

INRIA Saclay, Equipe DEFI, CMAP, Ecole Polytechnique, Route de Saclay, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France.

The complex transverse water proton magnetization subject to diffusion-encoding magnetic field gradient pulses in a heterogeneous medium can be modeled by the multiple compartment Bloch-Torrey partial differential equation. Under the assumption of negligible water exchange between compartments, the time-dependent apparent diffusion coefficient can be directly computed from the solution of a diffusion equation subject to a time-dependent Neumann boundary condition. This paper describes a publicly available MATLAB toolbox called SpinDoctor that can be used 1) to solve the Bloch-Torrey partial differential equation in order to simulate the diffusion magnetic resonance imaging signal; 2) to solve a diffusion partial differential equation to obtain directly the apparent diffusion coefficient; 3) to compare the simulated apparent diffusion coefficient with a short-time approximation formula. The partial differential equations are solved by P1 finite elements combined with built-in MATLAB routines for solving ordinary differential equations. The finite element mesh generation is performed using an external package called Tetgen. SpinDoctor provides built-in options of including 1) spherical cells with a nucleus; 2) cylindrical cells with a myelin layer; 3) an extra-cellular space enclosed either a) in a box or b) in a tight wrapping around the cells; 4) deformation of canonical cells by bending and twisting; 5) permeable membranes; Built-in diffusion-encoding pulse sequences include the Pulsed Gradient Spin Echo and the Oscillating Gradient Spin Echo. We describe in detail how to use the SpinDoctor toolbox. We validate SpinDoctor simulations using reference signals computed by the Matrix Formalism method. We compare the accuracy and computational time of SpinDoctor simulations with Monte-Carlo simulations and show significant speed-up of SpinDoctor over Monte-Carlo simulations in complex geometries. We also illustrate several extensions of SpinDoctor functionalities, including the incorporation of T relaxation, the simulation of non-standard diffusion-encoding sequences, as well as the use of externally generated geometrical meshes.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116120 | DOI Listing |

November 2019