Advanced dMRI signal modeling for tissue microstructure characterization

Rutger Fick 1
1 ATHENA - Computational Imaging of the Central Nervous System
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée
Abstract : This thesis is dedicated to furthering neuroscientific understanding of the human brain using diffusion-sensitized Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI). Within dMRI, we focus on the estimation and interpretation of microstructure-related markers, often referred to as ``Microstructure Imaging''. This thesis is organized in three parts. Part I focuses on understanding the state-of-the-art in Microstructure Imaging. We start with the basic of diffusion MRI and a brief overview of diffusion anisotropy. We then review and compare most state-of-the-art microstructure models in PGSE-based Microstructure Imaging, emphasizing model assumptions and limitations, as well as validating them using spinal cord data with registered ground truth histology. In Part II we present our contributions to 3D q-space imaging and microstructure recovery. We propose closed-form Laplacian regularization for the recent MAP functional basis, allowing robust estimation of tissue-related q-space indices. We also apply this approach to Human Connectome Project data, where we use it as a preprocessing for other microstructure models. Finally, we compare tissue biomarkers in a ex-vivo study of Alzheimer rats at different ages. In Part III, we present our contributions to representing the qt-space - varying over 3D q-space and diffusion time. We present an initial approach that focuses on 3D axon diameter estimation from the qt-space. We end with our final approach, where we propose a novel, regularized functional basis to represent the qt-signal, which we call qt-dMRI. Our approach allows for the estimation of time-dependent q-space indices, which quantify the time-dependence of the diffusion signal.
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Rutger Fick. Advanced dMRI signal modeling for tissue microstructure characterization. Other. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR4006⟩. ⟨tel-01534104v2⟩

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