Mapping the human connectome at multiple scales with diffusion spectrum MRI
AUTHORS: Cammoun L, Gigandet X, Meskaldji D, Thiran JP, Sporns O, Do KQ, Maeder P, Meuli R, Hagmann P.
Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 203(2): 386-97, January 2012
The global structural connectivity of the brain, the human connectome, is now accessible at millimeter scale with the use of MRI. In this paper, we describe an approach to map the connectome by constructing normalized whole-brain structural connection matrices derived from diffusion MRI tractography at 5 different scales. Using a template-based approach to match cortical landmarks of different subjects, we propose a robust method that allows (a) the selection of identical cortical regions of interest of desired size and location in different subjects with identification of the associated fiber tracts (b) straightforward construction and interpretation of anatomically organized whole-brain connection matrices and (c) statistical inter-subject comparison of brain connectivity at various scales. The fully automated post-processing steps necessary to build such matrices are detailed in this paper. Extensive validation tests are performed to assess the reproducibility of the method in a group of 5 healthy subjects and its reliability is as well considerably discussed in a group of 20 healthy subjects.