Anatomically constrained tractography facilitates biologically plausible fiber reconstruction of the optic radiation in multiple sclerosis
- Journal Article
Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) enables the microstructural characterization and reconstruction of white matter pathways in vivo non-invasively. However, dMRI only provides information on the orientation of potential fibers but not on their anatomical plausibility. To that end, recent methodological advances facilitate the effective use of anatomical priors in the process of fiber reconstruction, thus improving the accuracy of the results. Here, we investigated the potential of anatomically constrained tracking (ACT), a modular addition to the tractography software package MRtrix3, to accurately reconstruct the optic radiation, a commonly affected pathway in multiple sclerosis (MS). Diffusion MRI data were acquired from 28 MS patients and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. For each participant, the optic radiation was segmented based on the fiber reconstruction obtained using ACT. When implementing ACT in MS, it proved essential to incorporate lesion maps to avoid incorrect reconstructions due to tissue-type misclassifications in lesional areas. The ACT-based results were compared with those obtained using two commonly used probabilistic fiber tracking procedures, based on FSL (FMRIB Software Library) and MRtrix3 without ACT. All three procedures enabled a reliable localization of the optic radiation in both MS patients and controls. However, for FSL and MRtrix3 without ACT it was necessary to place an additional waypoint halfway between the lateral geniculate nucleus and the primary visual cortex to filter out anatomically implausible tracks. In the case of ACT, the results with and without an additional waypoint were virtually identical, presumably because the employed anatomical constraints already prevented the occurrence of the most implausible tracks. Irrespective of the employed tractography procedure, increased diffusivity and decreased anisotropy were found in the optic radiation of the MS patients compared to the controls. Show more
Journal / seriesNeuroImage: Clinical
Pages / Article No.
SubjectMagnetic resonance imaging; Multiple sclerosis; Fiber tracking; Probabilistic tractography; Diffusion MRI; Optic radiation; ACT
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