Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a promising method for characterizing microstructural changes or differences with neuropathology and treatment. The diffusion tensor may be used to characterize the magnitude, anisotropy and orientation of the diffusion tensor. This paper reviews the biological mechanisms, acquisition and analysis methodology of DTI measurements. The relationships between DTI measures and white matter pathologic features (ischemia, myelination, axonal damage, inflammation, and edema) are summarized. Applications of DTI to tissue characterization in neurotherapeutic applications are reviewed. The interpretations of common DTI measures – mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (Dr) and axial diffusivity (Da) – are discussed. In particular, FA is highly sensitive to microstructural changes, but not very specific to the type of changes (e.g., radial or axial). In order to maximize the specificity, it is recommended that future studies use multiple diffusion tensor measures (e.g., MD and FA, or Da and Dr) to better characterize the tissue microstructure.