Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an effective technology for the study of the internal structure of the brain non-invasively. At present, this technology is widely applied to clinical diagnosis and can reflect a series of pathological changes in the microstructure due to changes in nerve fibers. This article first explains the basic principles of DTI and some parameters like fractional anisotropy (FA) and relative anisotropy (RA). It then reviews several clinical applications of DTI from three perspectives, namely the clinical applications of anisotropy indices, fibers tracking, and DTI combined with other neuroimaging methods. Through the studies of the changes in the parameters of DTI and the contrast among a series of white matter fiber images, researchers can obtain important information about the changes in the structure of tissues, which can in turn be applied in clinic, and also include the value of DTI in the work-up of diseases as a tool in the differentiation of normal tissues and diseased tissues. This article also reviews the clinical application of fiber tracking and DTI combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalogram (EEG), and mangnetoencephalography (MEG), and others. Moreover, this article summarizes the advantages of DTI over traditional imaging technology like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). Some prospect applications of the DTI as well as unsolved problems are also briefly reviewed.
Keywords: Brain tumor, diffusion tensor imaging, fiber tracking, magnetic resonance imaging, MEG, white matter fiber.