Viability of AMURA biomarkers from single-shell diffusion MRI in clinical studies

TitleViability of AMURA biomarkers from single-shell diffusion MRI in clinical studies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMartín-Martín, C., Á. Planchuelo-Gómez, Á. L. Guerrero, D. García-Azorín, A. Tristán-Vega, R. de Luis-García, and S. Aja-Fernández
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is the most employed method to assess white matter properties using quantitative parameters derived from diffusion MRI, but it presents known limitations that restrict the evaluation of complex structures. The objective of this study was to validate the reliability and robustness of complementary diffusion measures extracted with a novel approach, Apparent Measures Using Reduced Acquisitions (AMURA), with a typical diffusion MRI acquisition from a clinical context in comparison with DTI with application to clinical studies. Fifty healthy controls, 51 episodic migraine and 56 chronic migraine patients underwent single-shell diffusion MRI. Four DTI-based and eight AMURA-based parameters were compared between groups with tract-based spatial statistics to establish reference results. On the other hand, following a region-based analysis, the measures were assessed for multiple subsamples with diverse reduced sample sizes and their stability was evaluated with the coefficient of quartile variation. To assess the discrimination power of the diffusion measures, we repeated the statistical comparisons with a region-based analysis employing reduced sample sizes with diverse subsets, decreasing 10 subjects per group for consecutive reductions, and using 5,001 different random subsamples. For each sample size, the stability of the diffusion descriptors was evaluated with the coefficient of quartile variation. AMURA measures showed a greater number of statistically significant differences in the reference comparisons between episodic migraine patients and controls compared to DTI. In contrast, a higher number of differences was found with DTI parameters compared to AMURA in the comparisons between both migraine groups. Regarding the assessments reducing the sample size, the AMURA parameters showed a more stable behavior than DTI, showing a lower decrease for each reduced sample size or a higher number of regions with significant differences. However, most AMURA parameters showed lower stability in relation to higher coefficient of quartile variation values than the DTI descriptors, although two AMURA measures showed similar values to DTI. For the synthetic signals, there were AMURA measures with similar quantification to DTI, while other showed similar behavior. These findings suggest that AMURA presents favorable characteristics to identify differences of specific microstructural properties between clinical groups in regions with complex fiber architecture and lower dependency on the sample size or assessing technique than DTI.