Dynamic DTI (dDTI) shows differing temporal activation patterns in post-exercise skeletal muscles

  • Conrad Rockel
  • Alireza Akbari
  • Dinesh A. Kumbhare
  • Michael D. NoseworthyEmail author
Research Article



To assess post-exercise recovery of human calf muscles using dynamic diffusion tensor imaging (dDTI).

Materials and methods

DTI data (6 directions, b = 0 and 400 s/mm2) were acquired every 35 s from seven healthy men using a 3T MRI, prior to (4 volumes) and immediately following exercise (13 volumes, ~7.5 min). Exercise consisted of 5-min in-bore repetitive dorsiflexion-eversion foot motion with 0.78 kg resistance. Diffusion tensors calculated at each time point produced maps of mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and signal at b = 0 s/mm2 (S0). Region-of-interest (ROI) analysis was performed on five calf muscles: tibialis anterior (ATIB), extensor digitorum longus (EDL) peroneus longus (PER), soleus (SOL), and lateral gastrocnemius (LG).


Active muscles (ATIB, EDL, PER) showed significantly elevated initial MD post-exercise, while predicted inactive muscles (SOL, LG) did not (p < 0.0001). The EDL showed a greater initial increase in MD (1.90 × 10−4mm2/s) than ATIB (1.03 × 10−4mm2/s) or PER (8.79 × 10−5 mm2/s) (p = 7.40 × 10−4), and remained significantly elevated across more time points than ATIB or PER. Significant increases were observed in post-exercise EDL S0 relative to other muscles across the majority of time points (p < 0.01 to p < 0.001).


dDTI can be used to differentiate exercise-induced changes between muscles. These differences are suggested to be related to differences in fiber composition.


DTI Skeletal muscle Exercise Recovery Time course Human 



Funding was provided to CR in the form of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada CGS-D PhD scholarship. The research was funded through an NSERC Discovery grant to MDN.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No author has any potential conflict of interest with respect to the work described and performed in this current manuscript. Dr. Michael Noseworthy has received a one-time lecture honorarium from GE Healthcare (Canada) for two 50-min lectures delivered in September 2015 to MRI technologists. These lectures were not in any way related to the current work.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10334_2016_587_MOESM1_ESM.docx (107 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 106 kb)


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Copyright information

© ESMRMB 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conrad Rockel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alireza Akbari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dinesh A. Kumbhare
    • 1
    • 5
  • Michael D. Noseworthy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.McMaster School of Biomedical EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Imaging Research CentreSt. Joseph’s HealthcareHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Medical Physics and Applied Radiation SciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  5. 5.Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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