In the first study comparing high angular resolution diffusion MRI (dMRI) in the human brain to axonal orientation measurements from polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT), we compare the accuracy of orientation estimates from various dMRI sampling schemes and reconstruction methods. We find that, if the reconstruction approach is chosen carefully, single-shell dMRI data can yield the same accuracy as multi-shell data, and only moderately lower accuracy than a full Cartesian-grid sampling scheme. Our results suggest that current dMRI reconstruction approaches do not benefit substantially from ultra-high b-values or from very large numbers of diffusion-encoding directions. We also show that accuracy remains stable across dMRI voxel sizes of 1 mm or smaller but degrades at 2 mm, particularly in areas of complex white-matter architecture. We also show that, as the spatial resolution is reduced, axonal configurations in a dMRI voxel can no longer be modeled as a small set of distinct axon populations, violating an assumption that is sometimes made by dMRI reconstruction techniques. Our findings have implications for in vivo studies and illustrate the value of PSOCT as a source of ground-truth measurements of white-matter organization that does not suffer from the distortions typical of histological techniques.
Anastasia Yendiki, Ph.D. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging 149 13th St. Suite 2301 Charlestown, MA 02129 ayendiki (at) mgh.harvard.edu