This study aimed to investigate the regional changes of brain white matter (WM) in DE patients using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI). A total of 25 dry eye patients (PAT) and 25 healthy controls (HC) were recruited. All subjects underwent DTI and NODDI, fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD), isotropic volume fraction (FISO), intra-cellular volume fraction (FICVF), and orientation dispersion index (ODI) were obtained respectively. Then complete Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), anxiety score (AS) or depression scores (DS) were obtained. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to evaluate the reliability of DTI and NODDI in distinguishing the two groups. DTI revealed that PAT had lower FA in both the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (LSLF) and the corpus callosum (CC), and higher MD in the LSLF, the right posterior limb of the internal capsule and the right posterior thalamic radiation. PAT had significant AD changes in regions including the genu of the CC, the right posterior limb of internal capsule, and the right splenium of the CC. From NODDI, PAT showed increased ODI in the LSLF and increased FISO in the right splenium of the CC. FICVF showed a significant decrease in the LSLF while increased in the left anterior corona radiata and the CC. Furthermore, the average values of MD and FICVF were significantly correlated with DS and AS. Hence the results of this study suggest that there are regional changes in WM in DE patients which may contribute to further understanding of the pathological mechanism of DE.
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