Analysis of the effects of noise, DWI sampling, and value of assumed parameters in diffusion MRI models

Elizabeth B. Hutchinson, Alexandru V. Avram, M. Okan Irfanoglu, C. Guan Koay, Alan S. Barnett, Michal E. Komlosh, Evren Özarslan, Susan C. Schwerin, Sharon L. Juliano, Carlo Pierpaoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was a systematic evaluation across different and prominent diffusion MRI models to better understand the ways in which scalar metrics are influenced by experimental factors, including experimental design (diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI] sampling) and noise. Methods: Four diffusion MRI models—diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), mean apparent propagator MRI (MAP-MRI), and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI)—were evaluated by comparing maps and histogram values of the scalar metrics generated using DWI datasets obtained in fixed mouse brain with different noise levels and DWI sampling complexity. Additionally, models were fit with different input parameters or constraints to examine the consequences of model fitting procedures. Results: Experimental factors affected all models and metrics to varying degrees. Model complexity influenced sensitivity to DWI sampling and noise, especially for metrics reporting non-Gaussian information. DKI metrics were highly susceptible to noise and experimental design. The influence of fixed parameter selection for the NODDI model was found to be considerable, as was the impact of initial tensor fitting in the MAP-MRI model. Conclusion: Across DTI, DKI, MAP-MRI, and NODDI, a wide range of dependence on experimental factors was observed that elucidate principles and practical implications for advanced diffusion MRI. Magn Reson Med 78:1767–1780, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1767-1780
Number of pages14
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • DWI sampling
  • diffusion kurtosis imaging
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • mean apparent propagator MRI
  • neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging
  • noise floor bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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