: To date, we have scarce information about the relative myelination level of different fiber bundles in the human brain. Indirect evidence comes from postmortem histology data but histological stainings are unable to follow a specific bundle and determine its intrinsic myelination. In this context, quantitative MRI, and diffusion MRI tractography may offer a viable solution by providing, respectively, voxel-wise myelin sensitive maps and the pathways of the major tracts of the brain. Then, "tractometry" can be used to combine these two pieces of information by averaging tissue features (obtained from any voxel-wise map) along the streamlines recovered with diffusion tractography. Although this method has been widely used in the literature, in cases of voxels containing multiple fiber populations (each with different levels of myelination), tractometry provides biased results because the same value will be attributed to any bundle passing through the voxel. To overcome this bias, we propose a new method - named "myelin streamline decomposition" (MySD) - which extends convex optimization modeling for microstructure informed tractography (COMMIT) allowing the actual value measured by a microstructural map to be deconvolved on each individual streamline, thereby recovering unique bundle-specific myelin fractions (BMFs). We demonstrate the advantage of our method with respect to tractometry in well-studied bundles and compare the cortical projection of the obtained bundle-wise myelin values of both methods. We also prove the stability of our approach across different subjects and different MRI sensitive myelin mapping approaches. This work provides a proof-of-concept of in vivo investigations of entire neuronal pathways that, to date, are not possible.
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