Purpose: To seek a better understanding of the effect of organized capillary flow on the MR diffusion-weighted signal. Methods: A theoretical framework was proposed to describe the diffusion-weighted MR signal, which was then validated both numerically using a realistic model of capillary network and experimentally in an animal model of isolated perfused heart preparation with myocardial blood flow verified by means of direct arterial spin labeling measurements. Results: Microcirculation in organized tissues gave rise to an MR signal that could be described as a combination of the bi-exponential behavior of conventional intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) theory and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) -like anisotropy of the vascular signal, with the flow-related pseudo diffusivity represented as the linear algebraic product between the encoding directional unit vector and an appropriate tensor entity. Very good agreement between theoretical predictions and both numerical and experimental observations were found. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the DTI formalism of anisotropic spin motion can be incorporated into the classical IVIM theory to describe the MR signal arising from diffusion and microcirculation in organized tissues. Magn Reson Med 76:1252–1262, 2016.
- anisotropic blood flow
- apparent diffusion coefficient
- diffusion-weighted MRI
- organized capillary flow
- perfusion fraction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging