Double diffusion encoding and applications for biomedical imaging

Rafael N. Henriques, Marco Palombo, Sune N. Jespersen, Noam Shemesh, Henrik Lundell, Andrada Ianuş*

*Corresponding author for this work
17 Citations (Scopus)


Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI) is one of the most important contemporary non-invasive modalities for probing tissue structure at the microscopic scale. The majority of dMRI techniques employ standard single diffusion encoding (SDE) measurements, covering different sequence parameter ranges depending on the complexity of the method. Although many signal representations and biophysical models have been proposed for SDE data, they are intrinsically limited by a lack of specificity. Advanced dMRI methods have been proposed to provide additional microstructural information beyond what can be inferred from SDE. These enhanced contrasts can play important roles in characterizing biological tissues, for instance upon diseases (e.g. neurodegenerative, cancer, stroke), aging, learning, and development. In this review we focus on double diffusion encoding (DDE), which stands out among other advanced acquisitions for its versatility, ability to probe more specific diffusion correlations, and feasibility for preclinical and clinical applications. Various DDE methodologies have been employed to probe compartment sizes (Section 3), decouple the effects of microscopic diffusion anisotropy from orientation dispersion (Section 4), probe displacement correlations, study exchange, or suppress fast diffusing compartments (Section 6). DDE measurements can also be used to improve the robustness of biophysical models (Section 5) and study intra-cellular diffusion via magnetic resonance spectroscopy of metabolites (Section 7). This review discusses all these topics as well as important practical aspects related to the implementation and contrast in preclinical and clinical settings (Section 9) and aims to provide the readers a guide for deciding on the right DDE acquisition for their specific application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108989
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • diffusion correlation tensor
  • Diffusion MRI
  • double diffusion encoding
  • exchange
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • microscopic anisotropy
  • tissue microstructure
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Anisotropy
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Diffusion


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