Mapping myeloarchitecture using diffusion MRI

The spatial organization of myelinated fibres in the cortex makes it possible to parcellate areas based on their myeloarchitecture, due to differences in the properties of the fibre layers and radial fibres.

 Non-invasive mapping of cortical myeloarchitecture has received increasing interest, with MRI methods based on T1-, T2- and T2*-weighting shown to produce detailed maps of human cortical areas based on surrogate measures of myelin content. In particular, many of these studies have shown well-defined areas of high myelination, among others, in the sensory-motor strip in the central sulcus, visual cortex, and auditory areas in the Sylvian fissure, and low myelination in, for example, frontal areas. Recent improvements in MRI hardware, acquisition methods, and higher-order models for the diffusion MRI signal have opened up the possibility of achieving a more robust characterisation of the microstructure properties of cortical grey matter using diffusion MRI, with very promising results. However, this requires further detailed investigation in whole-brain in vivo human data. We have recently demonstrated that high-quality diffusion MRI data and recent advances in diffusion fibre orientation modelling can be exploited to investigate cortical myeloarchitecture in the living human brain (see figure). This study demonstrated that in vivo human diffusion MRI data should provide a useful complementary non-invasive approach to study whole-brain cortical myeloarchitecture based on contrast related to tissue microstructure organisation. Our Lab will continue to develop, optimise, and validate diffusion MRI based methods to characterise myeloarchitecture.

Calamante F, Jeurissen B, Smith RE, Tournier J-D, Connelly A. Human In Vivo Myeloarchitecture Using Whole-Brain Diffusion MRI. In Proc. Annual Meeting of the Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. (ISMRM) 23 (2015), Toronto, Canada, p. 478.

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