Diffusion tensor tractography in cerebral small vessel disease: correlation with cognitive function

Maria M. D’Souza, S. P. Gorthi, Kunal Vadwala, Richa Trivedi, C. Vijayakumar, Prabhjot Kaur, Subash Khushu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients with cerebral small vessel disease may suffer from varying levels of cognitive deficit and may progress on to vascular dementia. The extent of involvement, as seen on conventional magnetic resonance (MR) measures, correlates poorly with the level of cognitive decline. The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) as a marker for white matter damage in small vessel disease and to assess its correlation with cognitive function. Methods: Thirty consecutive patients with cerebral small vessel disease underwent conventional MR imaging, DTI, and neuropsychological assessment. Results: On tractographic analysis, fractional anisotropy was significantly reduced while mean diffusivity significantly increased in several white matter tracts. The alteration in DTI indices correlated well with cognitive function. No significant correlation was identified between T2 lesion load and cognitive performance. Conclusions: Tractographic analysis of white matter integrity is a useful measure of disease severity and correlates well with cognitive function. It may have a significant potential in monitoring disease progression and may serve as a surrogate marker for treatment trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroradiology Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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