Refractive-index matching enhanced polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography quantification in human brain tissue

Citation:

Chao J Liu, William Ammon, Robert J Jones, Jackson Nolan, Ruopeng Wang, Shuaibin Chang, Matthew P Frosch, Anastasia Yendiki, David A Boas, Caroline Magnain, Bruce Fischl, and Hui Wang. 2022. “Refractive-index matching enhanced polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography quantification in human brain tissue.” Biomed Opt Express, 13, 1, Pp. 358-372.

Abstract:

The importance of polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) has been increasingly recognized in human brain imaging. Despite the recent progress of PS-OCT in revealing white matter architecture and orientation, quantification of fine-scale fiber tracts in the human brain cortex has been a challenging problem, due to a low birefringence in the gray matter. In this study, we investigated the effect of refractive index matching by 2,2'-thiodiethanol (TDE) immersion on the improvement of PS-OCT measurements in ex vivo human brain tissue. We show that we can obtain fiber orientation maps of U-fibers that underlie sulci, as well as cortical fibers in the gray matter, including radial fibers in gyri and distinct layers of fibers exhibiting laminar organization. Further analysis shows that index matching reduces the noise in axis orientation measurements by 56% and 39%, in white and gray matter, respectively. Index matching also enables precise measurements of apparent birefringence, which was underestimated in the white matter by 82% but overestimated in the gray matter by 16% prior to TDE immersion. Mathematical simulations show that the improvements are primarily attributed to the reduction in the tissue scattering coefficient, leading to an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio in deeper tissue regions, which could not be achieved by conventional noise reduction methods.