A systematic comparison of structural-, structural connectivity-, and functional connectivity-based thalamus parcellation techniques

Charles Iglehart, Martin Monti, Joshua Cain, Thomas Tourdias, Manojkumar Saranathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The thalamus consists of several histologically and functionally distinct nuclei increasingly implicated in brain pathology and important for treatment, motivating the need for development of fast and accurate thalamic parcellation. The contrast between thalamic nuclei as well as between the thalamus and surrounding tissues is poor in T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), inhibiting efforts to date to segment the thalamus using standard clinical MRI. Automatic parcellation techniques have been developed to leverage thalamic features better captured by advanced MRI methods, including magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo (MP-RAGE), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and resting-state functional MRI (fMRI). Despite operating on fundamentally different image contrasts, these methods claim a high degree of agreement with the Morel stereotactic atlas of the thalamus. However, no comparison has been undertaken to compare the results of these disparate parcellation methods. We have implemented state-of-the-art structural-, diffusion-, and functional imaging-based thalamus parcellation techniques and used them on a single set of subjects. We present the first systematic qualitative and quantitative comparison of these methods. The results show that DTI parcellation agrees more with structural parcellation in the larger thalamic nuclei, while rsfMRI parcellation agrees more with structural parcellation in the smaller nuclei. Structural parcellation is the most accurate in the delineation of small structures such as the habenular, antero-ventral, and medial geniculate nuclei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1631-1642
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume225
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • MP-RAGE
  • Resting-state functional MRI
  • Thalamus nuclei parcellation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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