The human subthalamic area is a region of high anatomical complexity, tightly packed with tiny fiber bundles. Some of them, including the pallidothalamic, cerebello-thalamic, and mammillothalamic tracts, are relevant targets in functional neurosurgery for various brain diseases. Diffusion-weighted imaging-based tractography has been suggested as a useful tool to map white matter pathways in the human brain in vivo and non-invasively, though the reconstruction of these specific fiber bundles is challenging due to their small dimensions and complex anatomy. To the best of our knowledge, a population-based, in vivo probabilistic atlas of subthalamic white matter tracts is still missing. In the present work, we devised an optimized tractography protocol for reproducible reconstruction of the tracts of subthalamic area in a large data sample from the Human Connectome Project repository. First, we leveraged the super-resolution properties and high anatomical detail provided by short tracks track-density imaging (stTDI) to identify the white matter bundles of the subthalamic area on a group-level template. Tracts identification on the stTDI template was also aided by visualization of histological sections of human specimens. Then, we employed this anatomical information to drive tractography at the subject-level, optimizing tracking parameters to maximize between-subject and within-subject similarities as well as anatomical accuracy. Finally, we gathered subject level tracts reconstructed with optimized tractography into a large-scale, normative population atlas. We suggest that this atlas could be useful in both clinical anatomy and functional neurosurgery settings, to improve our understanding of the complex morphology of this important brain region.

In vivo probabilistic atlas of white matter tracts of the human subthalamic area combining track density imaging and optimized diffusion tractography

Bramanti, Alessia;Anastasi, Giuseppe Pio;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The human subthalamic area is a region of high anatomical complexity, tightly packed with tiny fiber bundles. Some of them, including the pallidothalamic, cerebello-thalamic, and mammillothalamic tracts, are relevant targets in functional neurosurgery for various brain diseases. Diffusion-weighted imaging-based tractography has been suggested as a useful tool to map white matter pathways in the human brain in vivo and non-invasively, though the reconstruction of these specific fiber bundles is challenging due to their small dimensions and complex anatomy. To the best of our knowledge, a population-based, in vivo probabilistic atlas of subthalamic white matter tracts is still missing. In the present work, we devised an optimized tractography protocol for reproducible reconstruction of the tracts of subthalamic area in a large data sample from the Human Connectome Project repository. First, we leveraged the super-resolution properties and high anatomical detail provided by short tracks track-density imaging (stTDI) to identify the white matter bundles of the subthalamic area on a group-level template. Tracts identification on the stTDI template was also aided by visualization of histological sections of human specimens. Then, we employed this anatomical information to drive tractography at the subject-level, optimizing tracking parameters to maximize between-subject and within-subject similarities as well as anatomical accuracy. Finally, we gathered subject level tracts reconstructed with optimized tractography into a large-scale, normative population atlas. We suggest that this atlas could be useful in both clinical anatomy and functional neurosurgery settings, to improve our understanding of the complex morphology of this important brain region.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4808851
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