MRI-Based Method for Characterizing Axonal Microstructure in Traumatic Brain Injury

Neurites of the central nervous system can be conceptualized as cylindrical pores with finite lengths and radii. In response to physical trauma, axons may assume a “beaded” morphology which alters their ability to conduct electrical impulses, impairing brain function. These microstructural changes are thought to underlie some of the cognitive defects observed in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Current methods for characterizing traumatic brain injury (TBI) cannot provide microstructural detail on the 3-dimensional shape of axonal segments. Such detail is useful for the clinical management of patients with TBI. 

Researchers at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based data acquisition pipeline and processing framework to non-invasively characterize axonal shape and structure. The invention provides a method for non-invasively determining the joint distribution of pore lengths and radii within white matter pathways. 

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Diagnosis and monitoring patients with insults or injuries to white matter in the brain or nerves in the PNS 
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Provides 3-dimensional data about axonal structure
  • Provides microstructural detail

Development Stage:
Pre-clinical (in vivo)

Related Invention(s):


Peter Basser (NICHD)  ➽ more inventions...

Dan Benjamini (NICHD)  ➽ more inventions...

Michal Komlosh (NICHD)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: - issued -
US Provisional Application No. 62/083,834 filed on 2014-11-24
US Application No. 15/529,412 filed on 2017-05-24

Benjamini D, et al. White matter microstructure from nonparametric axon diameter distribution mapping. PMID 27126002
Komlosh ME, et al. Submitted to Microporous and Mesoporous Materials. In press.

Collaboration Opportunity:

Licensing and research collaboration

Licensing Contact:
John Hewes, Ph.D.
Phone: 240-276-5515

OTT Reference No: E-008-2015
Updated: Nov 2, 2017