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Brain Metabolite Diffusion from Ultra-Short to Ultra-Long Time Scales: What Do We Learn, Where Should We Go?

Julien Valette 1, * Clémence Ligneul 1 Charlotte Marchadour 1 Chloé Najac 1 Marco Palombo 1, 2
* Corresponding author
1 LMN - Laboratoire des Maladies Neurodégénératives - UMR 9199
CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR 9199, MIRCEN - Service MIRCEN : DRF/JACOB
Abstract : $In\ vivo$ diffusion-weighted MR spectroscopy (DW-MRS) allows measuring diffusion properties of brain metabolites. Unlike water, most metabolites are confined within cells. Hence, their diffusion is expected to purely reflect intracellular properties, opening unique possibilities to use metabolites as specific probes to explore cellular organization and structure. However, interpretation and modeling of DW-MRS, and more generally of intracellular diffusion, remains difficult. In this perspective paper, we will focus on the study of the time-dependency of brain metabolite apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). We will see how measuring ADC over several orders of magnitude of diffusion times, from less than 1 ms to more than 1 s, allows clarifying our understanding of brain metabolite diffusion, by firmly establishing that metabolites are neither massively transported by active mechanisms nor massively confined in subcellular compartments or cell bodies. Metabolites appear to be instead diffusing in long fibers typical of neurons and glial cells such as astrocytes. Furthermore, we will evoke modeling of ADC time-dependency to evaluate the effect of, and possibly quantify, some structural parameters at various spatial scales, departing from a simple model of hollow cylinders and introducing additional complexity, either short-ranged (such as dendritic spines) or long-ranged (such as cellular fibers ramification). Finally, we will discuss the experimental feasibility and expected benefits of extending the range of diffusion times toward even shorter and longer values.
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Julien Valette, Clémence Ligneul, Charlotte Marchadour, Chloé Najac, Marco Palombo. Brain Metabolite Diffusion from Ultra-Short to Ultra-Long Time Scales: What Do We Learn, Where Should We Go?. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Frontiers, 2018, 12, ⟨10.3389/fnins.2018.00002⟩. ⟨cea-02155385⟩

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