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This article is part of the series Image Processing and Analysis in Biomechanics.

Open Access Open Badges Research Article

Imaging Arterial Fibres Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging—Feasibility Study and Preliminary Results

Vittoria Flamini1, Christian Kerskens2, KevinM Moerman3, CiaranK Simms3 and Caitríona Lally13*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland

2 Trinity College Institute for Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

3 Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

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EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing 2010, 2010:904091  doi:10.1155/2010/904091

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://asp.eurasipjournals.com/content/2010/1/904091

Received:1 May 2009
Revisions received:13 August 2009
Accepted:21 November 2009
Published:3 January 2010

© 2010 The Author(s).

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to analyze the fibrous structure of aortic tissue. A fresh porcine aorta was imaged at 7T using a spin echo sequence with the following parameters: matrix 128 128 pixel; slice thickness 0.5 mm; interslice spacing 0.1 mm; number of slices 16; echo time 20.3 s; field of view 28 mm 28 mm. Eigenvectors from the diffusion tensor images were calculated for the central image slice and the averaged tensors and the eigenvector corresponding to the largest eigenvalue showed two distinct angles corresponding to near and to the transverse plane of the aorta. Fibre tractography within the aortic volume imaged confirmed that fibre angles were oriented helically with lead angles of and . The findings correspond to current histological and microscopy data on the fibrous structure of aortic tissue, and therefore the eigenvector maps and fibre tractography appear to reflect the alignment of the fibers in the aorta. In view of current efforts to develop noninvasive diagnostic tools for cardiovascular diseases, DTI may offer a technique to assess the structural properties of arterial tissue and hence any changes or degradation in arterial tissue.

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