An assessment of the correlation between early postinfarction pyramidal tract Wallerian degeneration and nerve function recovery using diffusion tensor imaging.
This study aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the early diagnosis of pyramidal tract Wallerian degeneration (WD) and assessment of neurological recovery following cerebral infarction. This study included 23 patients with acute cerebral infarction and 10 healthy adult controls. All participants underwent both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DTI scans. DTI images were analyzed using the Functional MRI of the Brain Software Library to determine the regions of interest (ROI) and obtain the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) value for each ROI. The correlation between FA or MD and postinfarction functional recovery of the nervous system was further analyzed to assess the feasibility of using a DTI scan in the evaluation of functional recovery of the nervous system in patients with cerebral infarction. DTI may be useful in detecting signals of early postinfarction pyramidal tract WD and is useful for the evaluation of postinfarction neurological recovery. Cerebral lesions were detected using MRI in all patients. It was found that in some patients, the FA value of the ipsilateral pyramidal tract on DTI was decreased as early as day 3 after the onset of infarction and in all patients by day 7. Subsequent correlation studies showed that the FA value of the ipsilateral pyramidal tract on day 13 was negatively correlated with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, but positively correlated with the Barthel Index, motricity index, and modified Rankin Scale scores.