Diffusion tractography based group mapping of major white-matter pathways in the human brain

O. Ciccarelli, A. T. Toosy, G. J M Parker, C. A M Wheeler-Kingshott, G. J. Barker, D. H. Miller, A. J. Thompson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Tractography uses diffusion tensor imaging data to trace white matter pathways in vivo within the brain. We have constructed group maps that represent three major white matter tracts - the anterior callosal fibers, optic radiations, and pyramidal tracts - in a group of 21 volunteers. For each individual tract the fast marching tractography (FMT) algorithm was used to generate a VSC (voxel scale connectivity) map in native space. Using SPM99 these maps were transformed into a standard reference frame and three group mapping techniques were investigated: the first averaged the individual VSC maps, the second produced maps that demonstrate intersubject tract variability and degree of overlap, and the third used an SPM analysis to construct a statistical image that represents the group effect. The group maps reconstructed for each tract under investigation conform well to known anatomy and are consistent with data derived from postmortem human brains. Greater intersubject variability is found around the terminal projections of the tracts adjacent to cerebral cortex, whereas the "core" of each tract is characterized by lower variability. No significant differences were found between the left and right side of the pyramidal tracts and optic radiations. The group mapping techniques utilize the VSC maps in different but complementary ways. In the future, group mapping could investigate in vivo white matter differences between normal subjects and patients affected by neurological and psychiatric diseases. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1545-1555
    Number of pages10
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2003


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