In the central nervous system of primates, several pathways are characterized by different spectra of axon diameters. In vivo methods, based on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, can provide axon diameter index estimates non-invasively. However, such methods report voxel-wise estimates, which vary from voxel-to-voxel for the same white matter bundle due to partial volume contributions from other pathways having different microstructure properties. Here, we propose a novel microstructure-informed tractography approach, COMMITAxSize, to resolve axon diameter index estimates at the streamline level, thus making the estimates invariant along trajectories. Compared to previously proposed voxel-wise methods, our formulation allows the estimation of a distinct axon diameter index value for each streamline, directly, furnishing a complementary measure to the existing calculation of the mean value along the bundle. We demonstrate the favourable performance of our approach comparing our estimates with existing histologically-derived measurements performed in the corpus callosum and the posterior limb of the internal capsule. Overall, our method provides a more robust estimation of the axon diameter index of pathways by jointly estimating the microstructure properties of the tissue and the macroscopic organisation of the white matter connectivity.

Bundle-Specific Axon Diameter Index as a New Contrast to Differentiate White Matter Tracts

Schiavi, Simona;Daducci, Alessandro
2021-01-01

Abstract

In the central nervous system of primates, several pathways are characterized by different spectra of axon diameters. In vivo methods, based on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, can provide axon diameter index estimates non-invasively. However, such methods report voxel-wise estimates, which vary from voxel-to-voxel for the same white matter bundle due to partial volume contributions from other pathways having different microstructure properties. Here, we propose a novel microstructure-informed tractography approach, COMMITAxSize, to resolve axon diameter index estimates at the streamline level, thus making the estimates invariant along trajectories. Compared to previously proposed voxel-wise methods, our formulation allows the estimation of a distinct axon diameter index value for each streamline, directly, furnishing a complementary measure to the existing calculation of the mean value along the bundle. We demonstrate the favourable performance of our approach comparing our estimates with existing histologically-derived measurements performed in the corpus callosum and the posterior limb of the internal capsule. Overall, our method provides a more robust estimation of the axon diameter index of pathways by jointly estimating the microstructure properties of the tissue and the macroscopic organisation of the white matter connectivity.
diffusion MRI
human brain
microstructure
microstructure informed tractography
tractography
white-matter axon signature
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1057654
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