Pulsed-Field NMR Measurements in Porous Media and Biological Systems
During the early stages of cerebral ischemia, the diffusion of water in the brain is decreased. The physical change in the tissue that is responsible for the decrease is unknown. Previous investigations have shown that pulsed-field-gradient nuclear magnetic resonance (PFG -NMR) measurements of diffusion in porous media contain information about microstructures. To advance the understanding of the PFG-NMR measurement of water diffusing in heterogeneous media, such as the brain, the studies presented in this dissertation were undertaken. Three groups of experiments are presented. The first set of experiments deals with the type of structural information that is available from PFG-NMR measurements of water diffusing in the pore-space of porous solids. In the second group of experiments, the diffusion of water in packed red blood cells, a model for diffusion in systems with permeable membranes, is studied. The third set of experiments deals with the diffusion of water in the rat brain during focal ischemia and cortical spreading depression. Measurements of time dependant diffusion in porous media indicate that the surface-to-pore-volume ratio and the free diffusion coefficient of the saturating fluid can be extracted from the short-time behavior and that the tortuosity of the pore space can be extracted from the long-time limit. Furthermore, the dynamic probability -of-return-to-the-origin can be obtained directly from the PFG-NMR amplitude. Experiments on packed red blood cells demonstrate that the measured diffusion coefficient is a sensitive function of both membrane permeability and extracellular volume fraction. Results on water diffusion measurements in the ischemic rat brain show the correlation between the region of the brain with decreased diffusion and the subsequently infarcted tissue and demonstrate the ability to predict the tissue salvaged by reperfusion. Also demonstrated is a decrease in diffusion following the transient depolarization of excitable cells which occurs during cortical spreading depression. A strong argument is advanced to explain the diffusion of water in brain tissue during various neurological disorders. During generalized cellular depolarization, cells swell causing a decrease in extracellular volume fraction which in turn leads to a sizeable decrease in the diffusion coefficient of water measured using PFG-NMR.
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- Engineering: Biomedical; Biophysics: General; Physics: General