Hippocampus and amygdala volumes from magnetic resonance images in children: Assessing accuracy of FreeSurfer and FSL against manual segmentation.
Schoemaker Dorothee,Buss Claudia,Head Kevin,Sandman Curt A,Davis Elysia P,Chakravarty M Mallar,Gauthier Serge,Pruessner Jens C
The volumetric quantification of brain structures is of great interest in pediatric populations because it allows the investigation of different factors influencing neurodevelopment. FreeSurfer and FSL both provide frequently used packages for automatic segmentation of brain structures. In this study, we examined the accuracy and consistency of those two automated protocols relative to manual segmentation, commonly considered as the "gold standard" technique, for estimating hippocampus and amygdala volumes in a sample of preadolescent children aged between 6 to 11 years. The volumes obtained with FreeSurfer and FSL-FIRST were evaluated and compared with manual segmentations with respect to volume difference, spatial agreement and between- and within-method correlations. Results highlighted a tendency for both automated techniques to overestimate hippocampus and amygdala volumes, in comparison to manual segmentation. This was more pronounced when using FreeSurfer than FSL-FIRST and, for both techniques, the overestimation was more marked for the amygdala than the hippocampus. Pearson correlations support moderate associations between manual tracing and FreeSurfer for hippocampus (right r=0.69, p<0.001; left r=0.77, p<0.001) and amygdala (right r=0.61, p<0.001; left r=0.67, p<0.001) volumes. Correlation coefficients between manual segmentation and FSL-FIRST were statistically significant (right hippocampus r=0.59, p<0.001; left hippocampus r=0.51, p<0.001; right amygdala r=0.35, p<0.001; left amygdala r=0.31, p<0.001) but were significantly weaker, for all investigated structures. When computing intraclass correlation coefficients between manual tracing and automatic segmentation, all comparisons, except for left hippocampus volume estimated with FreeSurfer, failed to reach 0.70. When looking at each method separately, correlations between left and right hemispheric volumes showed strong associations between bilateral hippocampus and bilateral amygdala volumes when assessed using manual segmentation or FreeSurfer. These correlations were significantly weaker when volumes were assessed with FSL-FIRST. Finally, Bland-Altman plots suggest that the difference between manual and automatic segmentation might be influenced by the volume of the structure, because smaller volumes were associated with larger volume differences between techniques. These results demonstrate that, at least in a pediatric population, the agreement between amygdala and hippocampus volumes obtained with automated FSL-FIRST and FreeSurfer protocols and those obtained with manual segmentation is not strong. Visual inspection by an informed individual and, if necessary, manual correction of automated segmentation outputs are important to ensure validity of volumetric results and interpretation of related findings.
Subcortical and hippocampal brain segmentation in 5-year-old children: Validation of FSL-FIRST and FreeSurfer against manual segmentation.
The European journal of neuroscience
Developing accurate subcortical volumetric quantification tools is crucial for neurodevelopmental studies, as they could reduce the need for challenging and time-consuming manual segmentation. In this study, the accuracy of two automated segmentation tools, FSL-FIRST (with three different boundary correction settings) and FreeSurfer, were compared against manual segmentation of the hippocampus and subcortical nuclei, including the amygdala, thalamus, putamen, globus pallidus, caudate and nucleus accumbens, using volumetric and correlation analyses in 80 5-year-olds. Both FSL-FIRST and FreeSurfer overestimated the volume on all structures except the caudate, and the accuracy varied depending on the structure. Small structures such as the amygdala and nucleus accumbens, which are visually difficult to distinguish, produced significant overestimations and weaker correlations with all automated methods. Larger and more readily distinguishable structures such as the caudate and putamen produced notably lower overestimations and stronger correlations. Overall, the segmentations performed by FSL-FIRST's default pipeline were the most accurate, whereas FreeSurfer's results were weaker across the structures. In line with prior studies, the accuracy of automated segmentation tools was imperfect with respect to manually defined structures. However, apart from amygdala and nucleus accumbens, FSL-FIRST's agreement could be considered satisfactory (Pearson correlation > 0.74, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) > 0.68 and Dice score coefficient (DSC) > 0.87) with highest values for the striatal structures (putamen, globus pallidus, caudate) (Pearson correlation > 0.77, ICC > 0.87 and DSC > 0.88, respectively). Overall, automated segmentation tools do not always provide satisfactory results, and careful visual inspection of the automated segmentations is strongly advised.
DTI segmentation via the combined analysis of connectivity maps and tensor distances.
Barbieri Sebastiano,Bauer Miriam H A,Klein Jan,Moltz Jan,Nimsky Christopher,Hahn Horst K
We describe a novel approach to extract the neural tracts of interest from a diffusion tensor image (DTI). Compared to standard streamline tractography, existing probabilistic methods are able to capture fiber paths that deviate from the main tensor diffusion directions. At the same time, tensor clustering methods are able to more precisely delimit the border of the bundle. To the best of our knowledge, we propose the first algorithm which combines the advantages supplied by probabilistic and tensor clustering approaches. The algorithm includes a post-processing step to limit partial-volume related segmentation errors. We extensively test the accuracy of our algorithm on different configurations of a DTI software phantom for which we systematically vary the image noise, the number of gradients, the geometry of the fiber paths and the angle between adjacent and crossing fiber bundles. The reproducibility of the algorithm is supported by the segmentation of the corticospinal tract of nine patients. Additional segmentations of the corticospinal tract, the arcuate fasciculus, and the optic radiations are in accordance with anatomical knowledge. The required user interaction is comparable to that of streamline tractography, which allows for an uncomplicated integration of the algorithm into the clinical routine.
Compromised Neurocircuitry in Chronic Blast-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
Yeh Ping-Hong,Guan Koay Cheng,Wang Binquan,Morissette John,Sham Elyssa,Senseney Justin,Joy David,Kubli Alex,Yeh Chen-Haur,Eskay Victora,Liu Wei,French Louis M,Oakes Terrence R,Riedy Gerard,Ollinger John
Human brain mapping
The aim of this study was to apply recently developed automated fiber segmentation and quantification methods using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and DTI-based deterministic and probabilistic tractography to access local and global diffusion changes in blast-induced mild traumatic brain injury (bmTBI). Two hundred and two (202) male active US service members who reported persistent post-concussion symptoms for more than 6 months after injury were recruited. An additional forty (40) male military controls were included for comparison. DTI results were examined in relation to post-concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. No significant group difference in DTI metrics was found using voxel-wise analysis. However, group comparison using tract profile analysis and tract specific analysis, as well as single subject analysis using tract profile analysis revealed the most prominent white matter microstructural injury in chronic bmTBI patients over the frontal fiber tracts, that is, the front-limbic projection fibers (cingulum bundle, uncinate fasciculus), the fronto-parieto-temporal association fibers (superior longitudinal fasciculus), and the fronto-striatal pathways (anterior thalamic radiation). Effects were noted to be sensitive to the number of previous blast exposures, with a negative association between fractional anisotropy (FA) and time since most severe blast exposure in a subset of the multiple blast-exposed group. However, these patterns were not observed in the subgroups classified using macrostructural changes (T2 white matter hyperintensities). Moreover, post-concussion symptoms and PTSD symptoms, as well as neuropsychological function were associated with low FA in the major nodes of compromised neurocircuitry. Hum Brain Mapp 38:352-369, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Tractography Study of Deep Brain Stimulation of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex in Chronic Pain: Key to Improve the Targeting.
Boccard Sandra G J,Fernandes Henrique M,Jbabdi Saad,Van Hartevelt Tim J,Kringelbach Morten L,Quaghebeur Gerardine,Moir Liz,Mancebo Victor Piqueras,Pereira Erlick A C,Fitzgerald James J,Green Alexander L,Stein John,Aziz Tipu Z
BACKGROUND:Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a new treatment for alleviating intractable neuropathic pain. However, it fails to help some patients. The large size of the ACC and the intersubject variability make it difficult to determine the optimal site to position DBS electrodes. The aim of this work was therefore to compare the ACC connectivity of patients with successful versus unsuccessful DBS outcomes to help guide future electrode placement. METHODS:Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) and probabilistic tractography were performed preoperatively in 8 chronic pain patients (age 53.4 ± 6.1 years, 2 females) with ACC DBS, of whom 6 had successful (SO) and 2 unsuccessful outcomes (UOs) during a period of trialing. RESULTS:The number of patients was too small to demonstrate any statistically significant differences. Nevertheless, we observed differences between patients with successful and unsuccessful outcomes in the fiber tract projections emanating from the volume of activated tissue around the electrodes. A strong connectivity to the precuneus area seems to predict unsuccessful outcomes in our patients (UO: 160n/SO: 27n), with (n), the number of streamlines per nonzero voxel. On the other hand, connectivity to the thalamus and brainstem through the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) was only observed in SO patients. CONCLUSIONS:These findings could help improve presurgical planning by optimizing electrode placement, to selectively target the tracts that help to relieve patients' pain and to avoid those leading to unwanted effects.
White matter degeneration in diffuse axonal injury and mild traumatic brain injury observed with automatic tractography.
Ueda Ryo,Hara Hiroyoshi,Hata Junichi,Senoo Atsushi
A better understanding of white matter tract damage in patients with diffuse axonal injury (DAI) and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is important to obtain an objective basis for sequelae. The purpose of this study was to clarify the characteristics of white matter tract degeneration in DAI and MTBI using automated tractography. T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed on seven DAI and seven MTBI patients as well as on nine healthy subjects. Automated probabilistic tractography analysis was performed using FreeSurfer and TRACULA (tracts constrained by underlying anatomy) for the reconstruction of major nerve fibers. We investigated the difference between DTI quantitative values in each white matter nerve fiber between groups and attempted to evaluate the classification accuracy of DAI and MTBI using receiver operator curve analysis. Both DAI and MTBI appeared to exhibit axonal degeneration along the nerve fiber tract in a scattered manner. The mean diffusivity of the ampulla of the corpus callosum was significantly higher in DAI than that in MTBI patients, suggesting axonal degeneration of the corpus callosum in DAI patients. Using mean diffusivity of the right cingulum-angular bundle, DAI and MTBI could be discriminated with an area under the curve of 94%. Both DAI and MTBI exhibited scattered axonal degeneration; however, DAI appeared to exhibit more pronounced axonal degeneration in the ampulla of the corpus callosum than MTBI. Our results suggest that DAI and MTBI can be accurately distinguished using DTI.
Superficial white matter bundle atlas based on hierarchical fiber clustering over probabilistic tractography data.
The study of short association fibers is still an incomplete task due to their higher inter-subject variability and the smaller size of this kind of fibers in comparison to known long association bundles. However, their description is essential to understand human brain dysfunction and better characterize the human brain connectome. In this work, we present a multi-subject atlas of short association fibers, which was computed using a superficial white matter bundle identification method based on fiber clustering. To create the atlas, we used probabilistic tractography from one hundred subjects from the HCP database, aligned with non-linear registration. The method starts with an intra-subject clustering of short fibers (30-85 mm). Based on a cortical atlas, the intra-subject cluster centroids from all subjects are segmented to identify the centroids connecting each region of interest (ROI) of the atlas. To reduce computational load, the centroids from each ROI group are randomly separated into ten subgroups. Then, an inter-subject hierarchical clustering is applied to each centroid subgroup, followed by a second level of clustering to select the most-reproducible clusters across subjects for each ROI group. Finally, the clusters are labeled according to the regions that they connect, and clustered to create the final bundle atlas. The resulting atlas is composed of 525 bundles of superficial short association fibers along the whole brain, with 384 bundles connecting pairs of different ROIs and 141 bundles connecting portions of the same ROI. The reproducibility of the bundles was verified using automatic segmentation on three different tractogram databases. Results for deterministic and probabilistic tractography data show high reproducibility, especially for probabilistic tractography in HCP data. In comparison to previous work, our atlas features a higher number of bundles and greater cortical surface coverage.
Neuroplasticity of Supraspinal Structures Associated with Pathological Pain.
Boadas-Vaello Pere,Homs Judit,Reina Francisco,Carrera Ana,Verdú Enrique
Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007)
Peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries, along with other painful syndromes such as fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapeutic neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, complex regional pain syndrome, and/or irritable bowel syndrome, cause several neuroplasticity changes in the nervous system along its entire axis affecting the different neuronal nuclei. This paper reviews these changes, focusing on the supraspinal structures that are involved in the modulation and processing of pain, including the periaqueductal gray matter, red nucleus, locus coeruleus, rostral ventromedial medulla, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum, habenula, primary, and secondary somatosensory cortex, motor cortex, mammillary bodies, hippocampus, septum, amygdala, cingulated, and prefrontal cortex. Hyperexcitability caused by the modification of postsynaptic receptor expression, central sensitization, and potentiation of presynaptic delivery of neurotransmitters, as well as the reduction of inhibitory inputs, changes in dendritic spine, neural circuit remodeling, alteration of gray matter, and upregulation of proinflammatory mediators (e.g., cytokines) by reactivation of astrocytes and microglial cells are the main functional, structural, and molecular neuroplasticity changes observed in the above supraspinal structures, associated with pathological pain. Studying these changes in greater depth may lead to the implementation and improvement of new therapeutic strategies against pathological pain. Anat Rec, 300:1481-1501, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Chronic Neuropathic Pain: It's about the Rhythm.
Alshelh Zeynab,Di Pietro Flavia,Youssef Andrew M,Reeves Jenna M,Macey Paul M,Vickers E Russell,Peck Christopher C,Murray Greg M,Henderson Luke A
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
The neural mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of chronic neuropathic pain remain unclear. Evidence from human investigations suggests that neuropathic pain is associated with altered thalamic burst firing and thalamocortical dysrhythmia. Additionally, experimental animal investigations show that neuropathic pain is associated with altered infra-slow (<0.1 Hz) frequency oscillations within the dorsal horn and somatosensory thalamus. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether, in humans, neuropathic pain was also associated with altered infra-slow oscillations within the ascending "pain" pathway. Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that individuals with orofacial neuropathic pain have increased infra-slow oscillatory activity throughout the ascending pain pathway, including within the spinal trigeminal nucleus, somatosensory thalamus, thalamic reticular nucleus, and primary somatosensory cortex. Furthermore, these infra-slow oscillations were temporally coupled across these multiple sites and occurred at frequencies similar to calcium waves in activated astrocytes. The region encompassing the spinal trigeminal nucleus also displayed increased regional homogeneity, consistent with a local spread of neural activity by astrocyte activation. In contrast, no increase in oscillatory behavior within the ascending pain pathway occurred during acute noxious stimuli in healthy individuals. These data reveal increased oscillatory activity within the ascending pain pathway that likely underpins increased thalamocortical oscillatory activity, a self-sustaining thalamocortical dysrhythmia, and the constant perception of pain. Significance statement: Chronic neuropathic pain is associated with altered thalamic firing and thalamocortical dysrhythmia. The mechanisms responsible for these changes remain unknown. In this study, we report in individuals with neuropathic pain increased oscillatory neural activity within the ascending pain pathway with evidence that these changes result from altered neural-astrocyte coupling. We propose a series of neural and glial events after nerve injury that result in the generation of altered thalamocortical activity and a persistent neuropathic pain state. Defining the underlying mechanisms responsible for neuropathic pain is critical if we are to develop more effective treatment regimens.
Deep brain stimulation for intractable neuropathic facial pain.
Ben-Haim Sharona,Mirzadeh Zaman,Rosenberg William S
OBJECTIVE Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-established, evidence-based therapy with FDA approval for Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. Despite the early successful use of DBS to target the sensory thalamus for intractable facial pain, subsequent studies pursuing various chronic pain syndromes reported variable efficacy, keeping DBS for pain as an investigational and "off-label" use. The authors report promising results for a contemporary series of patients with intractable facial pain who were treated with DBS. METHODS Pain outcomes for 7 consecutive patients with unilateral, intractable facial pain undergoing DBS of the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus (VPM) and the periaqueductal gray (PAG) were retrospectively reviewed. Pain was assessed preoperatively and at multiple postoperative time points using the visual analog scale (VAS), the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire-2 (SF-MPQ-2), and the Pain Disability Index (PDI). RESULTS VAS scores significantly decreased from a mean ± SD of 9.0 ± 1.3 preoperatively to 2.6 ± 1.5 at 1 year postoperatively (p = 0.001). PDI scores decreased from a mean total of 48.5 to 28.5 (p = 0.01). SF-MPQ-2 scores decreased from a mean of 4.6 to 2.4 (p = 0.03). Notably, several patients did not experience maximum improvement until 6-9 months postoperatively, correlating with repeated programming adjustments. CONCLUSIONS DBS of the VPM and PAG is a potential therapeutic option for patients suffering from severe, intractable facial pain refractory to other interventions. Improved efficacy may be observed over time with close follow-up and active DBS programming adjustments.
Role for the Ventral Posterior Medial/Posterior Lateral Thalamus and Anterior Cingulate Cortex in Affective/Motivation Pain Induced by Varicella Zoster Virus.
Kramer Phillip R,Strand Jennifer,Stinson Crystal,Bellinger Larry L,Kinchington Paul R,Yee Michael B,Umorin Mikhail,Peng Yuan B
Frontiers in integrative neuroscience
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) infects the face and can result in chronic, debilitating pain. The mechanism for this pain is unknown and current treatment is often not effective, thus investigations into the pain pathway become vital. Pain itself is multidimensional, consisting of sensory and affective experiences. One of the primary brain substrates for transmitting sensory signals in the face is the ventral posterior medial/posterior lateral thalamus (VPM/VPL). In addition, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has been shown to be vital in the affective experience of pain, so investigating both of these areas in freely behaving animals was completed to address the role of the brain in VZV-induced pain. Our lab has developed a place escape avoidance paradigm (PEAP) to measure VZV-induced affective pain in the orofacial region of the rat. Using this assay as a measure of the affective pain experience a significant response was observed after VZV injection into the whisker pad and after VZV infusion into the trigeminal ganglion. Local field potentials (LFPs) are the summed electrical current from a group of neurons. LFP in both the VPM/VPL and ACC was attenuated in VZV injected rats after inhibition of neuronal activity. This inhibition of VPM/VPL neurons was accomplished using a designer receptor exclusively activated by a designer drug (DREADD). Immunostaining showed that cells within the VPM/VPL expressed thalamic glutamatergic vesicle transporter-2, NeuN and DREADD suggesting inhibition occurred primarily in excitable neurons. From these results we conclude: (1) that VZV associated pain does not involve a mechanism exclusive to the peripheral nerve terminals, and (2) can be controlled, in part, by excitatory neurons within the VPM/VPL that potentially modulate the affective experience by altering activity in the ACC.
Deep Brain Stimulation of the Ventroposteromedial (VPM) Thalamus 10 Years after VPM Thalamotomy to Treat a Recurrent Facial Pain.
Yamgoue Yves,Pralong Etienne,Levivier Marc,Bloch Jocelyne
Stereotactic and functional neurosurgery
We report the successful treatment of recurrent facial pain by deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventroposteromedial thalamic nucleus (VPM-DBS), 10 years after VPM thalamotomy. A 62-year-old woman who suffered from an atypical right-sided trigeminal neuralgia of the V1 and V2 branches was successfully treated a decade ago with a radiofrequency VPM thermocoagulation. Ten years later, the same burning right-sided trigeminal pain progressively recurred and was resistant to medical treatments. A DBS procedure was proposed to the patient aiming to stimulate the vicinity of the preexisting stereotactic lesion. Intraoperatively, the pain relief was immediate at low stimulation intensities. Eleven months later, the patient remains pain free. This case report suggests that DBS targeting an area of the VPM close to the previous stereotactic lesion is possible as a salvage therapy, and can successfully achieve relief of facial pain 10 years after VPM thalamotomy.
Brain signature of chronic orofacial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis on neuroimaging research of trigeminal neuropathic pain and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Brain neuroimaging has been widely used to investigate the bran signature of chronic orofacial pain, including trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP) and pain related to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). We here systematically reviewed the neuroimaging literature regarding the functional and structural changes in the brain of TNP and TMD pain patients, using a computerized search of journal articles via PubMed. Ten TNP studies and 14 TMD studies were reviewed. Study quality and risk of bias were assessed based on the criteria of patient selection, the history of medication, the use of standardized pain/psychological assessments, and the model and statistics of imaging analyses. Qualitative meta-analysis was performed by examining the brain regions which showed significant changes in either brain functions (including the blood-oxygen-level dependent signal, cerebral blood flow and the magnetic resonance spectroscopy signal) or brain structure (including gray matter and white matter anatomy). We hypothesized that the neuroimaging findings would display a common pattern as well as distinct patterns of brain signature in the disorders. This major hypothesis was supported by the following findings: (1) TNP and TMD patients showed consistent functional/structural changes in the thalamus and the primary somatosensory cortex, indicating the thalamocortical pathway as the major site of plasticity. (2) The TNP patients showed more alterations at the thalamocortical pathway, and the two disorders showed distinct patterns of thalamic and insular connectivity. Additionally, functional and structural changes were frequently reported in the prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia, suggesting the role of cognitive modulation and reward processing in chronic orofacial pain. The findings highlight the potential for brain neuroimaging as an investigating tool for understanding chronic orofacial pain.
Brain white matter plasticity and functional reorganization underlying the central pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia.
Tian Tian,Guo Linying,Xu Jing,Zhang Shun,Shi Jingjing,Liu Chengxia,Qin Yuanyuan,Zhu Wenzhen
Peripheral nerve damage does not fully explain the pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Central nervous system changes can follow trigeminal nerve dysfunction. We hypothesized that brain white matter and functional connectivity changes in TN patients were involved in pain perception, modulation, the cognitive-affective system, and motor function; moreover, changes in functional reorganization were correlated with white matter alterations. Twenty left TN patients and twenty-two healthy controls were studied. Diffusion kurtosis imaging was analyzed to extract diffusion and kurtosis parameters, and functional connectivity density (FCD) mapping was used to explore the functional reorganization in the brain. In the patient group, we found lower axial kurtosis and higher axial diffusivity in tracts participated in sensory, cognitive-affective, and modulatory aspects of pain, such as the corticospinal tract, superior longitudinal fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, cingulated gyrus, forceps major and uncinate fasciculus. Patients exhibited complex FCD reorganization of hippocampus, striatum, thalamus, precentral gyrus, precuneus, prefrontal cortex and inferior parietal lobule in multiple modulatory networks that played crucial roles in pain perception, modulation, cognitive-affective system, and motor function. Further, the correlated structural-functional changes may be responsible for the persistence of long-term recurrent pain and sensory-related dysfunction in TN.
Modular organization of brain resting state networks in patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia.
Tsai Yuan-Hsiung,Liang Xia,Yang Jen-Tsung,Hsu Li-Ming
BACKGROUND:The modular organization of brain networks in trigeminal neuralgia patients has remained largely unknown. We aimed to analyze the brain modules and intermodule connectivity in patients with trigeminal neuralgia before and after percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy treatment to identify specific modules that may be associated with the development and brain plasticity of trigeminal neuralgia and to test the ability of modularity analysis to be a predictive imaging biomarker for the treatment effect in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. METHODS:A total of 25 patients with right trigeminal neuralgia and 20 matched healthy subjects were included. Blood-oxygen-level dependent resting state fMRI was used to analyze the brain modular organization. RESULTS:Whole brain modularity analysis identified seven modules. The metric of intermodule connectivity, participation coefficient, of the sensorimotor network and default mode network modules were significantly lower in patients and increased after surgery. The participation coefficient of the subcortical modules was associated with the pain duration. Higher communication between the default mode network module and other modules before surgery was associated with a better treatment response. Furthermore, the subcortical module was a significant contributor to the participation coefficient relationship of the default mode network module with the treatment response, and the bilateral midcingulate cortex and thalamus were major connectors in the subcortical module. CONCLUSIONS:These findings have important implications regarding the global brain modular responses to chronic neuropathic pain and it may be feasible to use the modularity analysis as part of a risk stratification to predict the treatment response.
A modified Hodgkin-Huxley model to show the effect of motor cortex stimulation on the trigeminal neuralgia network.
Khodashenas Mohammadreza,Baghdadi Golnaz,Towhidkhah Farzad
Journal of mathematical neuroscience
BACKGROUND:Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a severe neuropathic pain, which has an electric shock-like characteristic. There are some common treatments for this pain such as medicine, microvascular decompression or radio frequency. In this regard, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is another therapeutic method to reduce pain, which has been recently attracting the therapists' attention. The positive effect of tDCS on TN was shown in many previous studies. However, the mechanism of the tDCS effect has remained unclear. OBJECTIVE:This study aims to model the neuronal behavior of the main known regions of the brain participating in TN pathways to study the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation. METHOD:The proposed model consists of several blocks: (1) trigeminal nerve, (2) trigeminal ganglion, (3) PAG (periaqueductal gray in the brainstem), (4) thalamus, (5) motor cortex (M1) and (6) somatosensory cortex (S1). Each of these components is represented by a modified Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) model. The modification of the HH model was done based on some neurological facts of pain sodium channels. The input of the model involves any stimuli to the 'trigeminal nerve,' which cause the pain, and the output is the activity of the somatosensory cortex. An external current, which is considered as an electrical current, was applied to the motor cortex block of the model. RESULT:The results showed that by decreasing the conductivity of the slow sodium channels (pain channels) and applying tDCS over the M1, the activity of the somatosensory cortex would be reduced. This reduction can cause pain relief. CONCLUSION:The proposed model provided some possible suggestions about the relationship between the effects of tDCS and associated components in TN, and also the relationship between the pain measurement index, somatosensory cortex activity, and the strength of tDCS.
Dysregulation of Pain- and Emotion-Related Networks in Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Zhang Yanyang,Mao Zhiqi,Pan Longsheng,Ling Zhipei,Liu Xinyun,Zhang Jun,Yu Xinguang
Frontiers in human neuroscience
Classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a severe neuropathic facial pain disorder associated with increased risks of anxiety and depression. Converging evidence suggests that chronic pain pathophysiology involves dysfunctional pain-related and emotion-related networks. However, whether these systems are also among the culprit networks for TN remains unclear. Here, we aimed to assess TN-related anatomical and functional brain anomalies in pain-related and emotion-related networks. We investigated differences in gray matter (GM) volume and the related resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between 29 classical TN patients and 34 matched healthy controls. Relationships between brain measurement alterations, clinical pain and emotional states were identified. A longitudinal observation was further conducted to determine whether alterations in the brain could renormalize following pain relief. Reduced GM volumes in the bilateral amygdala, periaqueductal gray (PAG) and right insula were found in TN patients compared with healthy control subjects. Whole-brain rsFC analyses with the four above-mentioned anatomical regions as seeds identified three significantly altered functional circuits, including amygdala-DLPFC, amygdala-mPFC and amygdala-thalamus/putamen circuitry. The amygdala-DLPFC and amygdala-mPFC circuits were associated with clinical pain duration and emotional state ratings, respectively. Further longitudinal analysis found that rsFC strength abnormalities in two fronto-limbic circuits (left amygdala/left DLPFC and right amygdala/right PFC) were resolved after pain relief. Together, structural and functional deficits in pain-related and emotion-related networks were associated with TN patients, as demonstrated by our multimodal results. Pain relief had protective effects on brain functional connectivity within fronto-limbic circuits. Our study provides novel insights into the pathophysiology of TN, which may ultimately facilitate advances in TN intervention.
A Preliminary Study of the Efficacy of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Babakhani Babak,Tabatabaei Narges Hoseini,Elisevich Kost,Sadeghbeigi Narges,Barzegar Mojtaba,Mobarakeh Neda Mohammadi,Eyvazi Fatemeh,Khazaeipour Zahra,Taheri Arman,Nazem-Zadeh Mohammad-Reza
Frontiers in human neuroscience
The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in patients with treatment-refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and examine the utility of neuroimaging methods in identifying markers of such efficacy. Six patients with classical TN refractory to maximal medical treatment, underwent tDCS (three cases inhibitory/cathodic and three cases excitatory/anodic stimulation). All patients underwent pre- and posttreatment functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during block-design tasks (i.e., Pain, Pain + tDCS, tDCS) as well as single-shell diffusion MRI (dMRI) acquisition. The precise locations of tDCS electrodes were identified by neuronavigation. Five therapeutic tDCS sessions were carried out for each patient with either anodic or cathodic applications. The Numeric Rating Scale of pain (NRS) and the Headache Disability Index (HDI) were used to score the subjective efficacy of treatment. Altered activity of regional sites was identified by fMRI and associated changes in the spinothalamocortical sensory tract (STCT) were measured by the dMRI indices of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD). Fiber counts of the bilateral trigeminal root entry zone (REZ) were performed as an added measure of fiber loss or recovery. All patients experienced a significant reduction in pain scores with a substantial decline in HDI ( value < 0.01). Following a course of anodic tDCS, the ipsilateral caudate, globus pallidus, somatosensory cortex, and the contralateral globus pallidus showed a significantly attenuated activation whereas cathodic tDCS treatment resulted in attenuation of the thalamus and globus pallidus bilaterally, and the somatosensory cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus contralaterally. dMRI analysis identified a substantial increase (>50%) in the number of contralateral sensory fibers in the STCT with either anodic or cathodic tDCS treatment in four of the six patients. A significant reduction in FA (>40%) was observed in the ipsilateral REZ in the posttreatment phase in five of the six patients. Preliminary evidence suggests that navigated tDCS presents a promising method for alleviating the pain of TN. Different patterns of activation manifested by anodic and cathodic stimulation require further elaboration to understand their implication. Activation and attenuation of responses at various sites may provide further avenues for condition treatment.
Altered brain structure and function associated with sensory and affective components of classic trigeminal neuralgia.
Wang Yuan,Cao Dong-Yuan,Remeniuk Bethany,Krimmel Samuel,Seminowicz David A,Zhang Ming
Classic trigeminal neuralgia (CTN) is a chronic neuropathic pain state characterized by intense, piercing spasms of the orofacial region, and may be attributable to abnormal pain processing in the central nervous system. Our study investigated neuronal alterations using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), diffuse tensor imaging (DTI), and resting-state functional connectivity in 38 patients with CTN and 38 matched healthy controls. For voxel-based morphometry analyses, patients with CTN displayed gray matter volume (GMV) reductions in the anterior-cingulate cortex (ACC) and mid-cingulate cortex, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), primary motor cortex (M1), premotor area, and several regions in the temporal lobe. For DTI analysis, patients compared with controls had increased mean diffusivity (MD) and decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the corpus callosum and the bilateral corona radiata, and increased mean diffusivity with no fractional anisotropy changes across the bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, the internal and external capsule, the thalamus and brainstem. Additionally, patients with CTN had enhanced functional connectivity between the right insula/S2 and ACC, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, gray matter volume of left inferior temporal gyrus negatively correlated with current pain intensity and disease duration in patients, and connectivity of the right insula/S2-ACC was negatively correlated with pain intensity, depression, and anxiety ratings. This study provides multiple lines of evidence supporting aberrant structural and functional patterns that are observed in patients with CTN, which may help us better understand the pathophysiology of CTN and facilitate the development of new therapies for this disease.
Altered structure and functional connection in patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia.
Tsai Yuan-Hsiung,Yuan Rui,Patel Dharni,Chandrasekaran Subhashini,Weng Hsu-Huei,Yang Jen-Tsung,Lin Ching-Po,Biswal Bharat B
Human brain mapping
Classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a specific type of neuropathic orofacial pain of which the plasticity of brain structure and connectivity have remained largely unknown. A total of 62 TN patients were included and referred to MRI scans. Voxel-based morphometry was used to analyze the change of gray matter volume. Resting-state functional imaging was used to analyze the connectivity between brain regions. The results showed gray matter volume reduction in components of the prefrontal cortex, precentral gyrus, cerebellar tonsil, thalamus, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbens among right TN patient and in the inferior frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, cerebellum, thalamus, ventral striatum, and putamen among left TN patients. The connections between the right superior frontal gyrus and right middle frontal gyrus were lower in right TN patients. The connection between the left precentral gyrus and the left superior frontal gyrus was lower while the connection between bilateral thalamus was higher in left TN patients. The changes of volume in bilateral thalamus of right TN patients and left ventral striatum of left TN patients, and the connectivity between bilateral thalamus of left TN patients were moderately correlated with pain duration. These findings suggest that brain regions such as the thalamus may not only be involved in processing of pain stimuli but also be important for the development of TN. The left hemisphere may be dominant in processing and modulation of TN pain signal. Chronification of TN induces volume changes in brain regions which are associated with emotional or cognitive modulation of pain. Hum Brain Mapp 39:609-621, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Alterations in grey matter density and functional connectivity in trigeminal neuropathic pain and trigeminal neuralgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Henssen Dylan,Dijk Jurriaan,Knepflé Robin,Sieffers Matthijs,Winter Anouk,Vissers Kris
BACKGROUND:Various studies reported changes in grey matter volumes and modifications in functional connectivity of cortical and subcortical structures in patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP). This study meta-analyzed the concordant structural and functional changes in foci and provide further understanding of the anatomy and biology of TN/TNP. METHODS:Relevant articles on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional MRI in TN/TNP, published before August 2018, were searched for on PubMed and Embase. Following exclusion of unsuitable studies, a meta-analysis was performed using activation likelihood estimation (ALE). RESULTS:In total, 322 paper were identified, 11 of which could be included based on the predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Eight papers, totaling 279 subjects, discussing structural changes and four papers, totaling 102 subjects, discussing functional changes were included (i.e., one paper investigated both structural and functional alterations). ALE analysis showed that in TN/TNP, grey matter decreases are found in the thalamus, (anterior) cingulate gyrus, bilateral striatum, the superior-, middle- and transverse temporal gyrus, subcallosal gyrus, the bilateral insular cortex, the pre- and postcental gyrus, the middle frontal gyrus bilaterally and the anterior cerebellar lobe. Grey matter increases were seen in the periaqueductal grey (PAG). Increased resting state functional organization was found within the bilateral middle- and superior frontal gyri, the (posterior) cingulate cortex and the thalamus/pulvinar. CONCLUSIONS:Structural and functional changes meta-analyzed in this paper may contribute to elucidating the central pathophysiological mechanisms involved in TN/TNP. These results may be used as biomarkers to predict the response to medication and, ideally, in the future to offer personalized treatments.
Neural activity in trigeminal neuralgia patients with sensory and motor stimulations: A pilot functional MRI study.
Clinical neurology and neurosurgery
OBJECTIVE:Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain syndrome that typically exhibits paroxysmal pain. However, the true mechanism of pain processing is unclear. We aim to evaluate the neural activity changes, before and after radiofrequency rhizotomy, in TN patients using functional MRI (fMRI) with sensory and motor stimulations. METHODS:Six patients with classical TN participated in the study. Each patient underwent two boxcar paradigms of fMRI tasks: air-sensation and jaw-clenching around 1-3 weeks before and after the surgical intervention. McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) was used to evaluate the pain intensity prior to fMRI study. RESULTS:Before rhizotomy, the jaw-clenching stimulation yielded reduced brain activation in primary motor (M1) and primary (SI) and secondary somatosensory (SII) cortices. Following intervention, activation in those regions returned to near normal levels observed in healthy subjects. For air-sensation stimulation, several pain and pain modulation regions such as right thalamus, right putamen, insula, and brainstem, were activated before the intervention, but subsided after the intervention. This correlated well with the change of MPQ scores (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS:In our study, we observed significant pain reduction accompanied by increased motor activities after rhizotomy in patients with TN. We hypothesize that the reduced motor activities identified in fMRI may be reversed after the treatment with radiofrequency rhizotomy. More research is warranted.
Hippocampal and trigeminal nerve volume predict outcome of surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.
Danyluk Hayden,Lee Esther Kyungsu,Wong Scott,Sajida Samiha,Broad Robert,Wheatley Matt,Elliott Cameron,Sankar Tejas
Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache
BACKGROUND:Many medically-refractory trigeminal neuralgia patients are non-responders to surgical treatment. Few studies have explored how trigeminal nerve characteristics relate to surgical outcome, and none have investigated the relationship between subcortical brain structure and treatment outcomes. METHODS:We retrospectively studied trigeminal neuralgia patients undergoing surgical treatment with microvascular decompression. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was used for manual tracing of trigeminal nerves and automated segmentation of hippocampus, amygdala, and thalamus. Nerve and subcortical structure volumes were compared between responders and non-responders and assessed for ability to predict postoperative pain outcome. RESULTS:In all, 359 trigeminal neuralgia patients treated surgically from 2005-2018 were identified. A total of 34 patients met the inclusion criteria (32 with classic and two with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia). Across all patients, thalamus volume was reduced ipsilateral compared to contralateral to the side of pain. Between responders and non-responders, non-responders exhibited larger contralateral trigeminal nerve volume, and larger ipsilateral and contralateral hippocampus volume. Through receiver-operator characteristic curve analyses, contralateral hippocampus volume correctly classified treatment outcome in 82% of cases (91% sensitive, 78% specific, = 0.008), and contralateral nerve volume correctly classified 81% of cases (91% sensitive, 75% specific, < 0.001). Binomial logistic regression analysis showed that contralateral hippocampus and contralateral nerve volumes together classified outcome with 84% accuracy (Nagelkerke R= 65.1). CONCLUSION:Preoperative hippocampal and trigeminal nerve volume, measured on standard clinical magnetic resonance images, may predict early non-response to surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Treatment resistance in medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia may depend on the structural features of both the trigeminal nerve and structures involved in limbic components of chronic pain.
The thalamus in trigeminal neuralgia: structural and metabolic abnormalities, and influence on surgical response.
Danyluk Hayden,Andrews Jennifer,Kesarwani Rohit,Seres Peter,Broad Robert,Wheatley B Matt,Sankar Tejas
BACKGROUND:Medically-refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) can be treated successfully with operative intervention, but a significant proportion of patients are non-responders despite undergoing technically successful surgery. The thalamus is a key component of the trigeminal sensory pathway involved in transmitting facial pain, but the role of the thalamus in TN, and its influence on durability of pain relief after TN surgery, are relatively understudied. We aimed to test the hypothesis that variations in thalamic structure and metabolism are related to surgical non-response in TN. METHODS:We performed a longitudinal, peri-operative neuroimaging study of the thalamus in medically-refractory TN patients undergoing microvascular decompression or percutaneous balloon compression rhizotomy. Patients underwent structural MRI and MR spectroscopy scans pre-operatively and at 1-week following surgery, and were classified as responders or non-responders based on 1-year post-operative pain outcome. Thalamus volume, shape, and metabolite concentration (choline/creatine [Cho/Cr] and N-acetylaspartate/creatine [NAA/Cr]) were evaluated at baseline and 1-week, and compared between responders, non-responders, and healthy controls. RESULTS:Twenty healthy controls and 23 patients with medically-refractory TN treated surgically (17 responders, 6 non-responders) were included. Pre-operatively, TN patients as a group showed significantly larger thalamus volume contralateral to the side of facial pain. However, vertex-wise shape analysis showed significant contralateral thalamus volume reduction in non-responders compared to responders in an axially-oriented band spanning the outer thalamic circumference (peak p = 0.019). Further, while pre-operative thalamic metabolite concentrations did not differ between responders and non-responders, as early as 1-week after surgery, long-term non-responders showed a distinct decrease in contralateral thalamic Cho/Cr and NAA/Cr, irrespective of surgery type, which was not observed in responders. CONCLUSIONS:Atrophy of the contralateral thalamus is a consistent feature across patients with medically-refractory TN. Regional alterations in preoperative thalamic structure, and very early post-operative metabolic changes in the thalamus, both appear to influence the durability of pain relief after TN surgery.
The ascending reticular activating system from pontine reticular formation to the thalamus in the human brain.
Yeo Sang Seok,Chang Pyung Hun,Jang Sung Ho
Frontiers in human neuroscience
INTRODUCTION:Action of the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) on the cerebral cortex is responsible for achievement of consciousness. In this study, we attempted to reconstruct the lower single component of the ARAS from the reticular formation (RF) to the thalamus in the normal human brain using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). METHODS:Twenty six normal healthy subjects were recruited for this study. A 1.5-T scanner was used for scanning of diffusion tensor images, and the lower single component of the ARAS was reconstructed using FMRIB software. We utilized two ROIs for reconstruction of the lower single component of the ARAS: the seed ROI - the RF of the pons at the level of the trigeminal nerve entry zone, the target ROI - the intralaminar nuclei of the thalamus at the level of the commissural plane. RESULTS:The reconstructed ARAS originated from the pontine RF, ascended through the mesencephalic tegmentum just posterior to the red nucleus, and then terminated on the intralaminar nuclei of the thalamus. No significant differences in fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, and tract number were observed between hemispheres (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION:We reconstructed the lower single component of the ARAS from the RF to the thalamus in the human brain using DTI. The results of this study might be of value for the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with impaired consciousness.
Noninvasive mapping of human trigeminal brainstem pathways.
Upadhyay Jaymin,Knudsen Jamie,Anderson Julie,Becerra Lino,Borsook David
Magnetic resonance in medicine
The human trigeminal system mediates facial pain and somatosensory processing. The anatomic location of neuronal substrates and axonal pathways of the trigeminal system have previously been characterized with conventional in vitro methods. The present investigation implemented diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and probabilistic tractography to first segment the peripheral trigeminal circuitry, trigeminal nerve branches (ophthalmic, maxillary, and mandibular nerves), ganglion, and nerve root. Subsequent segmentations involved the spinal trigeminal and trigeminal thalamic tracts, which respectively convey information to the spinal trigeminal nuclei and ventral thalamic regions. This latter procedure also identified 1) spinal thalamic (anterolateral [AL]) system pathways (propagating pain and temperature information from the body), 2) trigeminal lemniscus (TL; touch and face position), and 3) medial lemniscus (ML; touch and limb position). The anatomic location of the identified pain and somatosensory pathways compared well with previous functional findings in the human trigeminal system, as well as the tract position in human histological cross sections. Probabilistic tractography may be a useful method to further comprehend the functional and structural properties of trigeminal and other related systems. Application of DTI to map pain and somatosensory pathways in conjunction with a characterization of function properties of pain and somatosensory processing would further define the systematic changes that occur in trigeminal pathology.
[Depiction of the trigeminal nerve deviated by a tumor lesion, using probabilistic diffusion tensor tractography].
Ishida Go,Oishi Makoto,Fukuda Masafumi,Sato Mitsuya,Fujii Yukihiko
No shinkei geka. Neurological surgery
We attempted presurgical visualization of the trigeminal nerve deviated by tumor compression using the probabilistic diffusion tractography (PDT) technique, which is used to analyze diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data. We acquired DTI data of 3 patients with a tumor lesion around the trigeminal nerve (2 patients with trigeminal neurinomas and 1 with epidermoid) using the 3T magnetic resonance imaging system. The DTI data was analyzed by PDT using the Diffusion Toolbox, and the software of FMRIB (FDT; www.fmrib.ox.ac.uk/fsl). In all 3 patients, PDT allowed successful visualization of the trigeminal nerve which is further distal to the trigeminal ganglion, even when heavy T2-weighted imaging and conventional fiber-tracking analysis of the DTI data revealed only the cisternal segment of the nerves. Especially in 2 cases with the tumor mainly located in the Meckel's cave, the location of the nerve was determined only by PDT. All these findings obtained by PDT were concordant with the intraoperative observation of the actual nerves. In conclusion, PDT is a useful technique for visualization of the trigeminal nerve even when it is severely deviated by tumor compression, and this technique could have potential for evaluating other cranial nerves in surgical cases with a tumor in the skull base.
Utility of DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) Metrics to Study Microstructural Changes of Trigeminal Nerve in Patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN).
Kumaran Sunitha Palasamudram,Gurram Sai Likhitha,Viswamitra Sanjaya,Hegde Vinay
Aims:To study the trigeminal nerve tractography and assessment of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters by comparing the values of fractional anisotropy (FA) of trigeminal (V) nerve on the affected side with that of the unaffected opposite side. Materials and Methods:Prospective comparative study done for one year included 30 patients who presented with trigeminal neuralgia and 30 controls who did not have any present or past history of neurological or neurosurgical symptoms were enrolled in the study. Results:Most common age of presentation of TN is >50 years, and the commonly involved branch is V2 (maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve). Most of the patients were having symptoms for more than 1 year. The superior cerebellar artery was the most common vessel compressing the V nerve at the root entry zone (REZ), followed in the order by anterior inferior cerebellar artery and petrosal vein. Neurovascular compression (NVC) was more commonly seen in the study group when compared with the control group. In all the patients in the study group, fractional anisotropy (FA) was decreased on the affected side as compared to the unaffected side. In the study group, 10 patients were having NVC on both sides, but FA was significantly decreased only on the affected side. No significant difference in FA values at the REZ of bilateral V nerves in the control group. Conclusion:DTI metrics of the trigeminal nerve is a very helpful imaging technique in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. It not only helps in anatomical imaging but also reinforces the association between NVC and TN.
Anatomical Characteristics of Thalamus-Cortical Sensory Tract in the Human Brain Using Diffusion Tensor Tractography at 3.0 Tesla Scanner.
Khanh Lam,Bac Nguyen Duy,Nguyen Pham Thanh,Tien Tran Viet,Ngoc Vo Truong Nhu,Chu-Dinh Thien,Phuong Nguyen Thi
Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences
BACKGROUND:Our knowledge about characteristics of the thalamocortical tract (THT) according to the cerebral origin is still few of studies about this structure on Vietnamese. AIM:Here, we aim to characterise the morphology of the thalamocortical tract in the human brain using diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) at 3.0 tesla scanner. METHODS:Fifty healthy subjects have enrolled in this study. Reconstructed images of the thalamocortical tract in the human brain were built using DTT at 3.0 tesla scanner. RESULTS:The median length of the right thalamocortical tract was 130.64 mm, and the left THT was 123.14 mm, and an average of two sides was 126.34 mm. The difference between the two sides was statically significance (p < 0.001). The median fibre number of the right THT was 401.50, and the left THT was 315.00, and an average of two sides was 365.50. There was a diverse branch of THT: two branches (5%); three branches (25%); four branches (42%); five branches (16%); six branches (12%); in which branched contralateral for the right was 50%, and for the left was 50%. CONCLUSION:Using the DTI and 3D image reconstruction techniques allow to build the image of sensory THT intuitively and accurately, which helps to identify the morphological characteristic of the thalamocortical tract of healthy people without invasive effects.
Abnormal Anatomical and Functional Connectivity of the Thalamo-sensorimotor Circuit in Chronic Low Back Pain: Resting-state Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study.
Thalamocortical dysfunction is thought to underlie the pathophysiology of chronic pain revealed by electroencephalographic studies. The thalamus serves as a primary relay center to transmit sensory information and motor impulses via dense connections with the somatosensory and motor cortex. In this study, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) (probabilistic tractography) and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (functional connectivity) were used to characterize the anatomical and functional integrity of the thalamo-sensorimotor pathway in chronic low back pain (cLBP). Fifty-four patients with cLBP and 54 healthy controls were included. The results suggested significantly increased anatomical connectivity of the left thalamo-motor pathway characterized by probabilistic tractography in patients with cLBP. Moreover, there was significantly altered resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) of bilateral thalamo-motor/somatosensory pathways in patients with cLBP as compared to healthy controls. We also detected a significant correlation between pain intensity during the MRI scan and rsFC of the right thalamo-somatosensory pathway in cLBP. Our findings highlight the involvement of the thalamo-sensorimotor circuit in the pathophysiology of cLBP.
DTI-based deterministic fibre tracking of the medial forebrain bundle.
Anthofer Judith Maria,Steib Kathrin,Fellner Claudia,Lange Max,Brawanski Alexander,Schlaier Juergen
BACKGROUND:Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) was reported to reduce symptoms in psychiatric disorders. The aim of our study was to find standardised parameters for diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) based fibre tracking to reliably visualise the MFB. METHODS:Twenty-two cerebral hemispheres in 11 patients were investigated. Three different regions of interest (ROIs) were defined as seed regions for fibre tracking: the ipsilateral and contralateral superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP) and the nucleus raphe dorsalis (NRD). From each seed region the fibres were followed separately through the ventral tegmental area (VTA = second ROI) and their further courses and volumina were documented and compared. Minimal fibre length was set at 30 mm and the FA threshold at 0.12. RESULTS:The fibre tracts starting in seed regions in the ipsilateral SCP and the NRD follow a similar course along the lateral wall of the third ventricle (hypothalamus) and the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) to inferior fronto-medial brain areas. These fibres are in accordance with the course of the MFB as described in various anatomical atlases. Consistently, a branch leaves the main fibre tract laterally to take a course through the capsula externa to the temporo-parietal cortex. Fibre tracts starting from the contralateral SCP follow a more superior and lateral course, including the dentato-rubro-thalamic and the pyramidal tract. CONCLUSIONS:Deterministic fibre tracking with standardised ROIs provides constant and reproducible delineations of the medial forebrain bundle. Its visualisation might help to adjust targeting in DBS for psychiatric disorders.
Diffusion and volumetry abnormalities in subcortical nuclei of patients with absence seizures.
Luo Cheng,Xia Yang,Li Qifu,Xue Kaiqing,Lai Yongxiu,Gong Qiyong,Zhou Dong,Yao Dezhong
PURPOSE:The thalamus and basal ganglia play an important role in the propagation and modulation of generalized spike and slow-wave discharges (SWDs) in absence epilepsy. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique sensitive to microstructural abnormalities of cerebral tissue by quantification of diffusion parameter. The purpose of this study is to investigate the diffusion and volume changes in the basal ganglia and thalamus of patients with absence seizures. METHODS:In 11 patients with absence seizures and 11 controls, the thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, and pallidum were segmented using an automated atlas-based method on the DTI and three-dimensional (3D) anatomic T₁ -weighted images. Then the fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and volume were extracted and quantified. KEY FINDINGS:Compared with controls, patients reveal increased MD values bilaterally in thalamus, putamen, and left caudate nucleus; increased FA value in bilateral caudate nuclei; and loss of volume in bilateral thalamus, putamen, and pallidum. Significant correlations were observed between age of onset and diffusion parameter alterations in caudate nucleus or putamen. SIGNIFICANCE:These findings provide preliminary evidence demonstrating that microstructural changes of subcortical structures are related to the chronic abnormal epileptic activity, and add further evidence for the involvement of thalamus and basal ganglia in propagation and modulation of SWDs in absence epilepsy. These results also indicate that DTI is more sensitive for detection of abnormal structure than the conventional MRI, and it may be adopted as a noninvasive means to understand the pathophysiologic evolution of absence seizures.
Identification of Stria Medullaris Fibers in the Massa Intermedia Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
Kochanski Ryan B,Dawe Robert,Kocak Mehmet,Sani Sepehr
BACKGROUND:The massa intermedia (MI) or interthalamic adhesion is an inconsistent band spanning between bilateral medial thalami that is absent in up to 20%-30% of individuals. Little is known of its significance, especially in regard to functional pathways. Probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has recently been used to seed the lateral habenula and define its afferent white matter pathway, the stria medullaris thalami (SM). We sought to determine whether the MI serves as a conduit for crossing of limbic fibers such as the SM. METHODS:Probabilistic DTI was performed on 10 subjects who had presence of a MI as visualized on magnetic resonance imaging. Tractography was also performed on 2 subjects without MI. Manual identification of the lateral habenula on axial T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging was used for the initial seed region for tractography. RESULTS:In all subjects, the SM was reliably visualized. In 7 of the 10 subjects with MI, there was evidence of SM fibers that crossed to the ipsilateral hemisphere. Three subjects with small diameter MI did not have tractographic evidence of crossing SM fibers. Of the 7 subjects with crossing SM fibers within the MI, 5 showed predilection toward the right orbitofrontal cortex from both the left and right seed regions. CONCLUSIONS:Probabilistic DTI provides evidence of SM fibers within the MI. Given its anatomic location as a bridging pathway between thalami, further studies are necessary to assess its role within the limbic functional network.
Connectivity between the superior colliculus and the amygdala in humans and macaque monkeys: virtual dissection with probabilistic DTI tractography.
Rafal Robert D,Koller Kristin,Bultitude Janet H,Mullins Paul,Ward Robert,Mitchell Anna S,Bell Andrew H
Journal of neurophysiology
It has been suggested that some cortically blind patients can process the emotional valence of visual stimuli via a fast, subcortical pathway from the superior colliculus (SC) that reaches the amygdala via the pulvinar. We provide in vivo evidence for connectivity between the SC and the amygdala via the pulvinar in both humans and rhesus macaques. Probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging tractography revealed a streamlined path that passes dorsolaterally through the pulvinar before arcing rostrally to traverse above the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle and connect to the lateral amygdala. To obviate artifactual connectivity with crossing fibers of the stria terminalis, the stria was also dissected. The putative streamline between the SC and amygdala traverses above the temporal horn dorsal to the stria terminalis and is positioned medial to it in humans and lateral to it in monkeys. The topography of the streamline was examined in relation to lesion anatomy in five patients who had previously participated in behavioral experiments studying the processing of emotionally valenced visual stimuli. The pulvinar lesion interrupted the streamline in two patients who had exhibited contralesional processing deficits and spared the streamline in three patients who had no deficit. Although not definitive, this evidence supports the existence of a subcortical pathway linking the SC with the amygdala in primates. It also provides a necessary bridge between behavioral data obtained in future studies of neurological patients, and any forthcoming evidence from more invasive techniques, such as anatomical tracing studies and electrophysiological investigations only possible in nonhuman species.
Regional specificity of aberrant thalamocortical connectivity in autism.
Nair Aarti,Carper Ruth A,Abbott Angela E,Chen Colleen P,Solders Seraphina,Nakutin Sarah,Datko Michael C,Fishman Inna,Müller Ralph-Axel
Human brain mapping
Preliminary evidence suggests aberrant (mostly reduced) thalamocortical (TC) connectivity in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but despite the crucial role of thalamus in sensorimotor functions and its extensive connectivity with cerebral cortex, relevant evidence remains limited. We performed a comprehensive investigation of region-specific TC connectivity in ASD. Resting-state functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were acquired for 60 children and adolescents with ASD (ages 7-17 years) and 45 age, sex, and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) participants. We examined intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) and anatomical connectivity (probabilistic tractography) with thalamus, using 68 unilateral cerebral cortical regions of interest (ROIs). For frontal and parietal lobes, iFC was atypically reduced in the ASD group for supramodal association cortices, but was increased for cingulate gyri and motor cortex. Temporal iFC was characterized by overconnectivity for auditory cortices, but underconnectivity for amygdalae. Occipital iFC was broadly reduced in the ASD group. DTI indices (such as increased radial diffusion) for regions with group differences in iFC further indicated compromised anatomical connectivity, especially for frontal ROIs, in the ASD group. Our findings highlight the regional specificity of aberrant TC connectivity in ASD. Their overall pattern can be largely accounted for by functional overconnectivity with limbic and sensorimotor regions, but underconnectivity with supramodal association cortices. This could be related to comparatively early maturation of limbic and sensorimotor regions in the context of early overgrowth in ASD, at the expense of TC connectivity with later maturing cortical regions.
Persistent abnormalities in Rolandic thalamocortical white matter circuits in childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes.
Thorn Emily L,Ostrowski Lauren M,Chinappen Dhinakaran M,Jing Jin,Westover M Brandon,Stufflebeam Steven M,Kramer Mark A,Chu Catherine J
OBJECTIVE:Childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (CECTS) is a common, focal, transient, developmental epilepsy syndrome characterized by unilateral or bilateral, independent epileptiform spikes in the Rolandic regions of unknown etiology. Given that CECTS presents during a period of dramatic white matter maturation and thatspikes in CECTS are activated during non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, we hypothesized that children with CECTS would have aberrant development of white matter connectivity between the thalamus and the Rolandic cortex. We further tested whether Rolandic thalamocortical structural connectivity correlates with spike rate during non-REM sleep. METHODS:Twenty-three children with CECTS (age = 8-15 years) and 19 controls (age = 7-15 years) underwent 3-T structural and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and 72-electrode electroencephalographic recordings. Thalamocortical structural connectivity to Rolandic and non-Rolandic cortices was quantified using probabilistic tractography. Developmental changes in connectivity were compared between groups using bootstrap analyses. Longitudinal analysis was performed in four subjects with 1-year follow-up data. Spike rate was quantified during non-REM sleep using manual and automated techniques and compared to Rolandic connectivity using regression analyses. RESULTS:Children with CECTS had aberrant development of thalamocortical connectivity to the Rolandic cortex compared to controls (P = .01), where the expected increase in connectivity with age was not observed in CECTS. There was no difference in the development of thalamocortical connectivity to non-Rolandic regions between CECTS subjects and controls (P = .19). Subjects with CECTS observed longitudinally had reductions in thalamocortical connectivity to the Rolandic cortex over time. No definite relationship was found between Rolandic connectivity and non-REM spike rate (P > .05). SIGNIFICANCE:These data provide evidence that abnormal maturation of thalamocortical white matter circuits to the Rolandic cortex is a feature of CECTS. Our data further suggest that the abnormalities in these tracts do not recover, but are increasingly dysmature over time, implicating a permanent but potentially compensatory process contributing to disease resolution.
Thalamo-cortical connectivity: what can diffusion tractography tell us about reading difficulties in children?
Fan Qiuyun,Davis Nicole,Anderson Adam W,Cutting Laurie E
Reading is an essential skill in modern society, but many people have deficits in the decoding and word recognition aspects of reading, a difficulty often referred to as dyslexia. The primary focus of neuroimaging studies to date in dyslexia has been on cortical regions; however, subcortical regions may also be important for explaining this disability. Here, we used diffusion tensor imaging to examine the association between thalamo-cortical connectivity and children's reading ability in 20 children with typically developed reading ability (age range 8-17/10-17 years old from two imaging centers) and 19 children with developmental dyslexia (DYS) (age range 9-17/9-16 years old). To measure thalamo-cortical connections, the structural images were segmented into cortical and subcortical anatomical regions that were used as target and seed regions in the probabilistic tractography analysis. Abnormal thalamic connectivity was found in the dyslexic group in the sensorimotor and lateral prefrontal cortices. These results suggest that the thalamus may play a key role in reading behavior by mediating the functions of task-specific cortical regions; such findings lay the foundation for future studies to investigate further neurobiological anomalies in the development of thalamo-cortical connectivity in DYS.
Abnormalities of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging are correlated with executive dysfunction in patients with ischemic leukoaraiosis.
Li Chuo,Ling Xueying,Liu Sirun,Xu Anding,Zhang Yusheng,Xing Shihui,Pei Zhong,Zeng Jinsheng
Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia
Abnormal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) results have been observed in the periventricular white matter in patients with ischemic leukoaraiosis (ILA). However, the underlying pathological changes and their relationship to cognitive impairments are obscure. In addition, damage in the thalamus, an important structure in the executive function network, has been suggested in ILA, but is poorly understood. Twenty patients with ILA and 20 healthy volunteers with similar ages and educational histories underwent DTI, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and a neuropsychological assessment. In patients with ILA, we observed an increased mean diffusivity (MD) and decreased levels of N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) in the anterior and posterior periventricular region and the thalamus, as well as decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the anterior and posterior periventricular regions. MD and NAA/Cr levels in the anterior and posterior periventricular white matter and NAA/Cr levels in the thalamus were correlated with executive function. DTI and MRS abnormalities were consistent with axonal and/or neuronal loss and dysfunction in the anterior and posterior periventricular white matter and the thalamus. This study demonstrates that DTI and MRS techniques can be used to investigate pathological changes in the anterior and posterior periventricular white matter and the thalamus; these changes may be correlated with executive functional changes in patients with ILA.
Morphology and microstructure of subcortical structures at birth: a large-scale Asian neonatal neuroimaging study.
Qiu Anqi,Fortier Marielle V,Bai Jordan,Zhang Xuejie,Chong Yap-Seng,Kwek Kenneth,Saw Seang-Mei,Godfrey Keith M,Gluckman Peter D,Meaney Michael J
This paper presents the growth pattern and sexual dimorphism of the thalamus and basal ganglia in a large-scale Asian neonatal cohort using both T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Our study observed a robust growth of the thalamus and basal ganglia (caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, and anterior limb of internal capsule) beyond the overall brain growth in the early postnatal period (36-43 weeks of the gestational age). Additionally, the microstructure of the two structures was integrated as reflected by an increase in fractional anisotropy (FA) and a decrease in axial and radial water diffusivities in the first few weeks of life. Sexual dimorphism was only observed in the whole brain growth and the left thalamic volume but not in the other volumes or DTI measures of the basal ganglia and thalamus at birth. Even though the pattern of sexual dimorphism in the total brain volume is present at birth and persists throughout postnatal brain development, sexual dimorphisms of the basal ganglia and thalamus differ from those found in later stages of brain development, indicating that regionally distinct patterns of postnatal brain development between males and females arise after birth.
Evidence of altered prefrontal-thalamic circuitry in schizophrenia: an optimized diffusion MRI study.
Rose Stephen E,Chalk Jonathan B,Janke Andrew L,Strudwick Mark W,Windus Louisa C,Hannah Dominique E,McGrath John J,Pantelis Christos,Wood Stephen J,Mowry Bryan J
MRI diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), optimized for measuring the trace of the diffusion tensor, was used to investigate microstructural changes in the brains of 12 individuals with schizophrenia compared with 12 matched control subjects. To control for the effects of anatomic variation between subject groups, all participants' diffusion images were nonlinearly registered to standard anatomical space. Significant statistical differences in mean diffusivity (MD) measures between the two groups were determined on a pixel-by-pixel basis, using Gaussian random field theory. We found significantly elevated MD measures within temporal, parietal and prefrontal cortical regions in the schizophrenia group (P > 0.001), especially within the medial frontal gyrus and anterior cingulate. The dorsal medial and anterior nucleus of the thalamus, including the caudate, also exhibited significantly increased MD in the schizophrenia group (P > 0.001). This study has shown for the first time that MD measures offer an alternative strategy for investigating altered prefrontal-thalamic circuitry in schizophrenia.
Neuroanatomical correlates of emotion-processing in children with unilateral brain lesion: A preliminary study of limbic system organization.
Ng Rowena,Lai Philip,Brown Timothy T,Järvinen Anna,Halgren Eric,Bellugi Ursula,Trauner Doris
In this study, MRI and DTI were employed to examine subcortical volume and microstructural properties (FA, MD) of the limbic network, and their relationships with affect discrimination in 13 FL (6 right FL, M = 10.17 years; 7 left FL; M = 10.09) and 13 typically-developing children (TD; M = 10.16). Subcortical volume of the amygdala, hippocampus and thalamus and FA and MD of the fornix and anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) were examined. Results revealed no group differences across emotion-perception tasks or amygdalar volume. However, contrasting neuroanatomical patterns were observed in right versus left FL youth. Right FL participants showed increased left hippocampal and thalamic volume relative to left FL participants; whereas, the latter group showed increased right thalamic volume. DTI findings also indicated right FL children show greater MD of right fornix than other groups, whereas, left FL youth showed greater MD of left fornix. Right FL youth also showed lower FA of right fornix than left FL children, whereby the latter showed greater FA of left fornix and ATR. Differential associations between DTI indices and auditory/visual emotion-perception were observed across FL groups. Findings indicate diverging brain-behavioral relationships for emotion-perception among right and left FL children.
Gray matter nuclei damage in acute carbon monoxide intoxication assessed in vivo using diffusion tensor MR imaging.
Jiang Wenqian,Wu Qingyu,Zhou Chun,Zhao Ziru,Tan Yongming
La Radiologia medica
OBJECTIVE:To observe the structural changes of gray matter nuclei in patients with acute carbon monoxide intoxication by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), quantify the degree of deep gray matter damage in the brain by adopting imaging technology and research the characteristics of the damage and its pertinence with memory and cognitive impairment. METHODS:Twenty-five patients with acute carbon monoxide intoxication and 25 healthy volunteers matched in sex and age were examined by routine head MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Bilateral hippocampus, dater nucleus, thalamus, amygdala, globus pallidus and putamen were taken as regions of interest. The mean diffusion coefficient (MD), anisotropic fraction (FA) and appearance of deep gray matter nucleus in patients with acute carbon monoxide intoxication were analyzed. It found that the change of diffusion coefficient (ADC) and its clinical correlation with cognitive impairment were generated by carbon monoxide intoxication. RESULTS:Compared with the healthy control group, the FA values of bilateral globus pallidus, hippocampus, dater nucleus and putamen decreased, while the FA values of amygdala and thalamus had no statistical significance; the MD values and ADC values of hippocampus, globus pallidus and putamen increased, while the MD and ADC values of dater nucleus, thalamus and amygdala had no statistical significance, either. CONCLUSION:DTI is capable of sensitively reflecting the damage of gray matter nuclei caused by acute carbon monoxide intoxication and quantifying the degree of hypoxic brain damage in a certain extent, and may be related to cognitive impairment.
Disentangling disorders of consciousness: Insights from diffusion tensor imaging and machine learning.
Zheng Zhong S,Reggente Nicco,Lutkenhoff Evan,Owen Adrian M,Monti Martin M
Human brain mapping
Previous studies have suggested that disorders of consciousness (DOC) after severe brain injury may result from disconnections of the thalamo-cortical system. However, thalamo-cortical connectivity differences between vegetative state (VS), minimally conscious state minus (MCS-, i.e., low-level behavior such as visual pursuit), and minimally conscious state plus (MCS+, i.e., high-level behavior such as language processing) remain unclear. Probabilistic tractography in a sample of 25 DOC patients was employed to assess whether structural connectivity in various thalamo-cortical circuits could differentiate between VS, MCS-, and MCS+ patients. First, the thalamus was individually segmented into seven clusters based on patterns of cortical connectivity and tested for univariate differences across groups. Second, reconstructed whole-brain thalamic tracks were used as features in a multivariate searchlight analysis to identify regions along the tracks that were most informative in distinguishing among groups. At the univariate level, it was found that VS patients displayed reduced connectivity in most thalamo-cortical circuits of interest, including frontal, temporal, and sensorimotor connections, as compared with MCS+, but showed more pulvinar-occipital connections when compared with MCS-. Moreover, MCS- exhibited significantly less thalamo-premotor and thalamo-temporal connectivity than MCS+. At the multivariate level, it was found that thalamic tracks reaching frontal, parietal, and sensorimotor regions, could discriminate, up to 100% accuracy, across each pairwise group comparison. Together, these findings highlight the role of thalamo-cortical connections in patients' behavioral profile and level of consciousness. Diffusion tensor imaging combined with machine learning algorithms could thus potentially facilitate diagnostic distinctions in DOC and shed light on the neural correlates of consciousness. Hum Brain Mapp 38:431-443, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Thalamocortical structural connectivity abnormalities in drug-resistant generalized epilepsy: A diffusion tensor imaging study.
Zhang Yiming,Jiang Luwei,Zhang Dong,Wang Lanlan,Fei Xiaorui,Liu Xiang,Fu Xianming,Niu Chaoshi,Wang Yehan,Qian Ruobing
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Epilepsy is one of the most common diseases of the nervous system. Approximately one-third of epilepsy cases are drug-resistant, among which generalized-onset seizures are very common. The present study aimed to analyze abnormalities of the thalamocortical fiber pathways in each hemisphere of the brains of patients with drug-resistant generalized epilepsy. MATERIALS AND METHODS:The thalamocortical structural pathways were identified by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in 15 patients with drug-resistant generalized epilepsy and 16 gender/age-matched controls. The thalami of both groups were parcellated into subregions according to the local thalamocortical connectivity pattern. DTI measures of thalamocortical connections were compared between the two groups. RESULTS:Probabilistic tractography analyses showed that fractional anisotropy of thalamocortical pathways in patients with epilepsy decreased significantly, and the radial diffusivity of the left thalamus pathways with homolateral motor and parietal-occipital cortical regions in the drug-resistant epilepsy group increased significantly. In addition to the right thalamus pathway and prefrontal cortical region, fractional anisotropy of all other pathways was inversely correlated with disease duration. CONCLUSION:The results provide evidence indicating widespread bilateral abnormalities in the thalamocortical pathways in epilepsy patients and imply that the degree of abnormality in the pathway increases with the disease duration.
Differential Impairment of Thalamocortical Structural Connectivity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Zhang Jiu-Quan,Ji Bing,Zhou Chao-Yang,Li Long-Chuan,Li Zhi-Hao,Hu Xiao-Ping,Hu Jun
CNS neuroscience & therapeutics
AIMS:The thalamus is a major relay station that modulates input from many cortical areas and a filter for sensory input and is involved in the pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, it still remains unclear whether all thalamocortical networks are affected or whether there is selective vulnerability. In this study, we aimed to study the selective vulnerability of different thalamocortical structural connections in ALS and to test the hypothesis of a specific impairment in motor-related thalamocortical connectivity. METHODS:Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to identify thalamocortical structural pathways in 38 individuals with ALS and 35 gender/age-matched control subjects. Thalami of both groups were parcellated into subregions based on local patterns of thalamocortical connectivity. DTI measures of these distinct thalamocortical connections were derived and compared between groups. RESULTS:The analysis of probabilistic tractography showed that the structural connectivity between bilateral pre/primary motor cortices and associated thalamic subregions was specifically impaired in patients with ALS, while the other thalamocortical connections remained relatively intact. In addition, fractional anisotropy values of the impaired thalamocortical motor pathway were inversely correlated with the disease duration. CONCLUSION:Our findings provide direct evidence for selective impairment of the thalamocortical structural connectivity in ALS.
Feasibility of prefronto-caudate pathway tractography using high resolution diffusion tensor tractography data at 3T.
Kamali Arash,Kramer Larry A,Hasan Khader M
Journal of neuroscience methods
Mapping the human brain frontostriatal pathways using noninvasive diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been hampered by the inadequate imaging sensitivity, poor spatial resolution, lower tensor anisotropy within gray matter, increased partial volume averaging effects and poor signal-to-noise ratio. We investigated for the first time the utility of high spatial resolution DTI-based fiber-tractography using the fiber assignment by continuous tracking (FACT) to reconstruct and quantify bilaterally the prefronto-caudo-thalamic connections within the human brain at 3T. Five healthy right-handed men (age range 24-37 years) were studied. We traced the anterior thalamic radiation and prefronto-caudo-thalamic pathways bilaterally and measured the volume of each tract and the corresponding diffusion tensor metrics in all subjects. The anterior thalamic radiation tract volume and corresponding fractional anisotropy (FA) were significantly larger bilaterally than prefronto-caudate pathway, whereas the mean diffusivity (D(av)) values were similar (p>0.7). For both anterior thalamic radiation and prefronto-caudate pathway the tract volume and corresponding DTI metrics (FA, D(av)) were not significantly different between the two hemispheres (p>0.2). Our DTI acquisition protocol and analysis permitted the reconstruction of the connectivity of the caudate with the thalamus as well as with the prefrontal cortex and allowed tracking of the whole trajectory of the prefronto-caudo-thalamic pathway.
White matter abnormalities in a patient with visual snow syndrome: New evidence from a diffusion tensor imaging study.
Latini Francesco,Fahlström Markus,Marklund Niklas,Feresiadou Amalia
European journal of neurology
BACKGROUND:Visual snow syndrome (VSS) is a neurological condition characterized by flickering dots throughout the entire visual field. Both the pathophysiology and possible location of VSS are still under debate. White matter abnormalities were investigated using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in a patient with VSS. METHODS:A 28-year-old patient with VSS and 10 healthy controls were investigated with DTI. Diffusion parametric maps were calculated and reconstructed using q-space diffeomorphic reconstruction. White matter pathways of the dorsal, ventral, integrative visual streams and thalamic connectivity were tracked. Then, they were applied to each subject's parameter map, stretched to the same length, and sampled along the tracts for regional analyses of DTI parameters. RESULTS:Compared with healthy controls, our patient displayed higher axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) in the dorsal visual stream (cingulum, arcuate fasciculus, horizontal indirect anterior segment of the superior longitudinal fasciculus), in the ventral visual stream (fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus) and in the integrative visual stream (indirect posterior component of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, vertical occipital fasciculus). Higher AD and RD were also detected in acoustic and optic radiations, and in thalamic radiations distal to the thalamus. CONCLUSION:This VSS patient displayed multiple, bilateral white matter changes in the temporo-parieto-occipital junction in white matter pathways related to vision. We encourage the study of white matter pathology using DTI in complex neurological syndromes including VSS.
A role of diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking in deep brain stimulation surgery: DBS of the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (drt) for the treatment of therapy-refractory tremor.
Coenen Volker A,Allert Niels,Mädler Burkhard
INTRODUCTION:Deep brain stimulation (DBS) can alleviate tremor of various origins. A number of regions are targeted. In recent work our group was able to show the involvement of the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (drt) in tremor control with fiber tracking techniques. Here we report for the first time the successful use of magnetic resonance tractography in combination with traditional landmark-based targeting techniques to perform the implantation of a bilateral DBS system in a patient with dystonic head tremor. METHODS:We report on a 37-year-old female with long-standing pure head tremor from myoclonus dystonia. She was identified as a candidate for thalamic DBS. The use of head fixation in a stereotactic frame would blur target symptoms (head tremor) during surgery and was therefore avoided. Her dentate-rubro-thalamic tracts were visualized with preoperative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tractography, and then directly targeted stereotactically with DBS electrodes. RESULTS:Three months after implantation, tremor control was excellent (>90%). A close evaluation of the active electrode contact positions revealed clear involvement of the drt. CONCLUSION:This is the first time that direct visualization of fiber tracts has been employed for direct targeting and successful movement disorder tremor surgery. In the reported case, additional knowledge about the position of the drt, which previously has been shown to be a structure for modulation to achieve tremor control, led to a successful implantation of a DBS system, although there was a lack of intra-operatively testable tremor symptoms. In concordance with studies in optogenetic neuromodulation, fiber tracts are the emerging target structures for DBS. The routine integration of DTI tractography into surgical planning might be a leading path into the future of DBS surgery and will add to our understanding of the pathophysiology of movement disorders. Larger study populations will have to prove these concepts in future research.
MR imaging of ventral thalamic nuclei.
Yamada K,Akazawa K,Yuen S,Goto M,Matsushima S,Takahata A,Nakagawa M,Mineura K,Nishimura T
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:The Vim and VPL are important target regions of the thalamus for DBS. Our aim was to clarify the anatomic locations of the ventral thalamic nuclei, including the Vim and VPL, on MR imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Ten healthy adult volunteers underwent MR imaging by using a 1.5T whole-body scanner. The subjects included 5 men and 5 women, ranging in age from 23 to 38 years, with a mean age of 28 years. The subjects were imaged with STIR sequences (TR/TE/TI = 3200 ms/15 ms/120 ms) and DTI with a single-shot echo-planar imaging technique (TR/TE = 6000 ms/88 ms, b-value = 2000 s/mm(2)). Tractography of the CTC and spinothalamic pathway was used to identify the thalamic nuclei. Tractography of the PT was used as a reference, and the results were superimposed on the STIR image, FA map, and color-coded vector map. RESULTS:The Vim, VPL, and PT were all in close contact at the level through the ventral thalamus. The Vim was bounded laterally by the PT and medially by the IML. The VPL was bounded anteriorly by the Vim, laterally by the internal capsule, and medially by the IML. The posterior boundary of the VPL was defined by a band of low FA that divided the VPL from the pulvinar. CONCLUSIONS:The ventral thalamic nuclei can be identified on MR imaging by using reference structures such as the PT and the IML.
Identification of the stria medullaris thalami using diffusion tensor imaging.
Kochanski Ryan B,Dawe Robert,Eddelman Daniel B,Kocak Mehmet,Sani Sepehr
BACKGROUND:Deep brain stimulation (DBS) via anatomical targeting of white matter tracts defined by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) may be a useful tool in the treatment of pathologic neurophysiologic circuits implicated in certain disease states like treatment resistant depression (TRD). We sought to determine if DTI could be used to define the stria medullaris thalami (SM), the major afferent white matter pathway to the lateral habenula (LHb), a thalamic nucleus implicated in the pathophysiology of TRD. METHODS:Probabilistic DTI was performed on ten cerebral hemispheres in five patients who underwent preoperative MRI for DBS surgery. Manual identification of the LHb on axial T1 weighted MRI was used for the initial seed region for tractography. Variations in tractography depending on chosen axial slice of the LHb and chosen voxel within the LHb were also assessed. RESULTS:In all hemispheres the SM was reliably visualized. Variations in chosen axial seed slice as well as variations in single seed placement did not lead to significant changes in SM tractography. CONCLUSIONS:Probabilistic DTI can be used to visualize the SM which may ultimately provide utility for direct anatomic targeting in DBS surgery.
Directional colour encoding of the human thalamus by diffusion tensor imaging.
Unrath Alexander,Klose Uwe,Grodd Wolfgang,Ludolph Albert C,Kassubek Jan
The potential of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in brain imaging in terms of the in vivo mapping of neuroanatomy is generally accepted. Mostly, analyses of deep brain structures were based on complex methodical backgrounds. In the present study, the delineation of groups of thalamic nuclei with similar projection characteristics was investigated in healthy human subjects using a novel differentiated colour encoding approach of DTI data without the use of statistical calculations. With the application of this directional colour encoding of the longest eigenvector of every voxel-specific tensor, at least three functional groups in the thalamus with different projection directions could be differentiated. The method displayed, furthermore, a high symmetry and stability in the analysis of the individual subjects. In summary, substantial neuroanatomical information can be gained for deep subcortical gray matter structures such as the thalamus with an improved detection and directional differentiation of voxel-specific tensors.
Study on Lesion Assessment of Cerebello-Thalamo-Cortical Network in Wilson's Disease with Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
Wang Anqin,Wu Hongli,Xu Chunsheng,Tang Lanfeng,Lee Jaeyoun,Wang Min,Jiang Man,Li Chuanfu,Lu Qi,Zhang Chunyun
Wilson's disease (WD) is a genetic disorder of copper metabolism with pathological copper accumulation in the brain and any other tissues. This article aimed to assess lesions in cerebello-thalamo-cortical network with an advanced technique of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in WD. 35 WD patients and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers were recruited to accept diffusion-weighted images with 15 gradient vectors and conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The DTI parameters, including fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusion (MD), were calculated by diffusion kurtosis estimator software. After registration, patient groups with FA mappings and MD mappings and normal groups were compared with 3dttest and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, corrected with FDR simulations ( = 0.001, = 0.05, cluster size = 326). We found that the degree of FA increased in the bilateral head of the caudate nucleus (HCN), lenticular nucleus (LN), ventral thalamus, substantia nigra (SN), red nucleus (RN), right dentate nucleus (DN), and decreased in the mediodorsal thalamus and extensive white matter. The value of MD increased in HCN, LN, SN, RN, and extensive white matter. The technique of DTI provides higher sensitivity and specificity than conventional MRI to detect Wilson's disease. Besides, lesions in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and cerebellum might disconnect the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical circuits or dentato-rubro-thalamic (DRT) track and disrupt cerebello-thalamo-cortical network finally, which may cause clinical extrapyramidal symptoms.
Parcellation of the Thalamus Using Diffusion Tensor Images and a Multi-object Geometric Deformable Model.
Ye Chuyang,Bogovic John A,Ying Sarah H,Prince Jerry L
Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering
The thalamus is a sub-cortical gray matter structure that relays signals between the cerebral cortex and midbrain. It can be parcellated into the thalamic nuclei which project to different cortical regions. The ability to automatically parcellate the thalamic nuclei could lead to enhanced diagnosis or prognosis in patients with some brain disease. Previous works have used diffusion tensor images (DTI) to parcellate the thalamus, using either tensor similarity or cortical connectivity as information driving the parcellation. In this paper, we propose a method that uses the diffusion tensors in a different way than previous works to guide a multiple object geometric deformable model (MGDM) for parcellation. The primary eigenvector (PEV) is used to indicate the homogeneity of fiber orientations. To remove the ambiguity due to the fact that the PEV is an orientation, we map the PEV into a 5D space known as the Knutsson space. An edge map is then generated from the 5D vector to show divisions between regions of aligned PEV's. The generalized gradient vector flow (GGVF) calculated from the edge map drives the evolution of the boundary of each nucleus. Region based force, balloon force, and curvature force are also employed to refine the boundaries. Experiments have been carried out on five real subjects. Quantitative measures show that the automated parcellation agrees with the manual delineation of an expert under a published protocol.
White matter microstructure changes in the thalamus in Parkinson disease with depression: A diffusion tensor MR imaging study.
Li W,Liu J,Skidmore F,Liu Y,Tian J,Li K
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Depression occurs frequently in PD; however the neural basis of depression in PD remains unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize possible depression-related white matter microstructural changes in the thalamus of patients with DPD compared with those with NDPD. MATERIALS AND METHODS:FA and MD maps from DTI were obtained in 14 patients with DPD and 18 patients with NDPD. Region-of-interest-guided VBA was conducted on the FA maps to detect possible microstructural differences in the thalamus between these 2 patient groups. Moreover, mean FA and MD in regions with a detected difference were compared between DPD and NDPD groups, and correlations between diffusion quantities and the severity of depression were analyzed. RESULTS:White matter microstructure differences were found between the patients with DPD and NDPD in the bilateral mediodorsal thalamic regions. In these regions, patients with DPD showed significantly decreased FA values (P < .005) compared with patients with NDPD, and the mean values of FA were negatively correlated with the scores of depression severity (P < .05) for patients with PD. No significant differences of MD were found in the mediodorsal thalamus between these 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide preliminary evidence that the mediodorsal thalamus may play an important role in depression in PD and suggest a relationship between FA in the mediodorsal thalamus and the presence of depressive symptoms in patients with DPD. These findings may be helpful for further understanding the potential mechanisms of depression in PD.
Combining shape and connectivity analysis: an MRI study of thalamic degeneration in Alzheimer's disease.
Zarei Mojtaba,Patenaude Brian,Damoiseaux Jessica,Morgese Ciro,Smith Steve,Matthews Paul M,Barkhof Frederik,Rombouts Serge A R B,Sanz-Arigita Ernesto,Jenkinson Mark
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with neuronal loss not only in the hippocampus and amygdala but also in the thalamus. Anterodorsal, centromedial, and pulvinar nuclei are the main sites of degeneration in AD. Here we combined shape analysis and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography to study degeneration in AD in the thalamus and its connections. Structural and diffusion tensor MRI scans were obtained from 16 AD patients and 22 demographically similar healthy volunteers. The thalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala were automatically segmented using our locally developed algorithm, and group comparisons were carried out for each surface vertex. We also employed probabilistic diffusion tractography to obtain connectivity measures between individual thalamic voxels and hippocampus/amygdala voxels and to segment the internal medullary lamina (IML). Shape analysis showed significant bilateral regional atrophy in the dorsal-medial part of the thalamus in AD patients compared to controls. Probabilistic tractography demonstrated that these regions are mainly connected with the hippocampus, temporal, and prefrontal cortex. Intrathalamic FA comparisons showed reductions in the anterodorsal region of thalamus. Intrathalamic tractography from this region revealed that the IML was significantly smaller in AD patients than in controls. We suggest that these changes can be attributed to the degeneration of the anterodorsal and intralaminar nuclei, respectively. In addition, based on previous neuropathological reports, ventral and dorsal-medial shape change in the thalamus in AD patients is likely to be driven by IML atrophy. This combined shape and connectivity analysis provides MRI evidence of regional thalamic degeneration in AD.
Disruption of thalamic connectivity in Alzheimer's disease: a diffusion tensor imaging study.
Zhu Qing-Yong,Bi Si-Wei,Yao Xiu-Ting,Ni Zhi-Yan,Li Ying,Chen Bo-Yu,Fan Guo-Guang,Shang Xiu-Li
Metabolic brain disease
The aim of this study was to evaluate the structural integrity of the thalamic connectivity of specific fiber tracts in different stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Thirty-five patients with AD and 22 normal control (NC) subjects were recruited. Based on Mini Mental State Examination score, the AD patients were divided into three subgroups for comparison with the NC group: mild (mi-AD, n = 14), moderate (mo-AD, n = 12), and severe (se-AD, n = 9) AD. The fornix (FX), anterior thalamic radiation (ATR), and posterior thalamic radiation (PTR) were selected to represent the thalamic connectivity with other brain regions. The fornix was divided into the column and body of the fornix (FX-1) and the bilateral fornix (crus)/stria terminalis (FX-2/ST) based on the atlas. Through the atlas-based analysis and fiber tracking method, we measured fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and tract volume to reflect the microstructural and macrostructural changes of these fibers during AD progression. There were significant differences in the FA and MD of all fibers, except the right PTR, between the AD and NC subjects. Further subgroup analyses revealed that the mi-AD subgroup had decreased FA only in the FX-1 and increased MD in the FX-1 and bilateral ATR, the mo-AD subgroup showed declined FA and increased MD in the FX-1, bilateral FX-2/ST and ATR; the se-AD subgroup exhibited lower FA and higher MD values in all fibers except the right PTR. We also found reduced tract volume values in the FX and left ATR in the AD patients. Further subgroup analyses revealed that these differences only existed in the se-AD patients. Our DTI analyses indicate that the integrity of thalamic connectivity is progressively disrupted following cognitive decline in AD and that DTI parameters in the column and body of the fornix show promise as potential markers for the early diagnosis of AD and for monitoring disease progression.
Working memory performance and thalamus microstructure in healthy subjects.
Piras F,Caltagirone C,Spalletta G
Research on the neural basis of working memory (WM) has generally focused on cortical regions, specifically frontal and parietal areas. Comparatively, evidence of a possible involvement of deep gray matter structures, that are parts of cortico-cortical circuits linking anterior and posterior cortical areas, is far less clear. The goal of the present study is to test the hypothesis that individual structural variations within deep gray matter structures may affect the cortical networks involved in WM. To this aim, a large sample (n=181) of healthy subjects underwent a high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scan protocol. Data of micro- (mean diffusivity, MD) and macro- (volume) structural variations of six bilateral deep gray matter structures (thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, hippocampus, amygdala and pallidum) and lateral ventriculi volume were analyzed in association with score in a WM (the so-called n-back task) and other neuropsychological tasks. Results showed that increased MD of bilateral thalami was the only structural parameter that significantly correlated with reduced WM performance. In particular, a voxel-by-voxel analysis revealed that the greater percentage of voxels showing significant anticorrelation between WM score and MD values were localized in those thalamic nuclei projecting to prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices. Results highlight the specific involvement of thalamus microstructure, not volume, in modulating WM performance, possibly by regulating the connections among cortical areas that are recruited during WM tasks.
Disrupted thalamic prefrontal pathways in patients with idiopathic dystonia.
Bonilha Leonardo,de Vries Paulien M,Hurd Mark W,Rorden Chris,Morgan Paul S,Besenski Nada,Bergmann Kenneth J,Hinson Vanessa K
Parkinsonism & related disorders
There are quantifiable abnormalities in water diffusion properties of the white matter in thalamic and prefrontal areas in patients with idiopathic dystonia (ID). However, it is unclear which pathways are disrupted in these patients. Using probabilistic tractography of high resolution DTI, we reconstructed thalamic prefrontal pathways in seven patients with ID and seven matched controls. Resulting fibers were registered onto the stereotaxic space and submitted to a voxel-wise statistical analysis comparing patients and controls. Patients with ID exhibited less thalamic prefrontal connections, particularly involving fibers traveling from the thalamus to the middle frontal gyrus. These results corroborate neurophysiologic findings of reduced and asynchronous thalamic prefrontal input, and emphasize the structural correlates of the pathophysiology of ID.
Diffusion tensor imaging and colored fractional anisotropy mapping of the ventralis intermedius nucleus of the thalamus.
Sedrak Mark,Gorgulho Alessandra,Frew Andrew,Behnke Eric,DeSalles Antonio,Pouratian Nader
BACKGROUND:The ventralis intermedius (VIM) nucleus of the thalamus is the primary surgical target for treatment of tremor. Most centers rely on indirect targeting based on atlas-defined coordinates rather than patient-specific anatomy, making intraoperative physiological mapping critical. Detailed identification of this target based on patient-specific anatomic features can help optimize the surgical treatment of tremor. OBJECTIVE:To study colored fractional anisotropic images and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography to identify characteristic magnetic resonance appearances of the VIM nucleus. METHODS:Four patients undergoing stereotactic surgery for essential tremor (ET) were retrospectively studied with analysis of magnetic resonance imaging-based colored fractional anisotropy (FA) images and fiber tractography. All were scanned with a 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging unit, and all sequences were obtained before frame placement. Because the goal of this study was to identify the DTI characteristics of physiologically defined VIM nucleus, we selected and studied patients who had undergone DTI and had efficacious tremor control with intraoperative microlesioning effect and tremor reduction with less than 2.0-V stimulation. RESULTS:Analysis of color FA maps, which graphically illustrate fiber directionality, revealed consistent anatomic patterns. The region of the VIM nucleus can be seen as an intermediate region where there is a characteristic transition of color. Presumptive VIM nucleus interconnectivity with sensorimotor cortex and cerebellum was identified via the internal capsule and the superior cerebellar peduncle, respectively. FA maps could also be used to distinguish segments of gray matter, white matter, and gray-white matter boundaries. CONCLUSION:Analysis of DTI and FA maps on widely available 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging yields clear identification of various structures key to neurosurgical targeting. Prospective evaluation of integrating DTI into neurosurgical planning may be warranted.
Clustering probabilistic tractograms using independent component analysis applied to the thalamus.
O'Muircheartaigh Jonathan,Vollmar Christian,Traynor Catherine,Barker Gareth J,Kumari Veena,Symms Mark R,Thompson Pam,Duncan John S,Koepp Matthias J,Richardson Mark P
The connectivity information contained in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has previously been used to parcellate cortical and subcortical regions based on their connectivity profiles. The aim of the current study is to investigate the utility of a novel approach to connectivity based parcellation of the thalamus using probabilistic tractography and independent component analysis (ICA). We use ICA to identify spatially coherent tractograms as well as their underlying seed regions, in a single step. We compare this to seed-based tractography results and to an established and reliable approach to parcellating the thalamus based on the dominant cortical connection from each thalamic voxel (Behrens et al., 2003a,b). The ICA approach identifies thalamo-cortical pathways that correspond to known anatomical connections, as well as parcellating the underlying thalamus in a spatially similar way to the connectivity based parcellation. We believe that the use of such a multivariate method to interpret the complex datasets created by probabilistic tractography may be better suited than other approaches to parcellating brain regions.
Connecting white matter injury and thalamic atrophy in clinically isolated syndromes.
Henry Roland G,Shieh Mason,Amirbekian Bagrat,Chung SungWon,Okuda Darin T,Pelletier Daniel
Journal of the neurological sciences
Previous studies suggest that thalamic degeneration is prominent in multiple sclerosis (MS) and even in pre-MS patients presenting with a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). However, the relationships between white matter lesions and deep grey matter loss are not well understood. We analyzed the association between white matter lesions and the thalami in CIS patients to determine if connectivity is an important determinant. We studied 24 CIS patients and 18 normal controls with anatomical and diffusion tensor (DTI) MRI images. DTI fiber tracking was used to create probabilistic templates of the thalamocortical white matter and to define white matter connecting lesions and thalami. DTI metrics in the lesions and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) regions were compared between CIS and controls, and correlated with thalamic volume changes estimated by voxel-based morphometry. There was 10 times higher density of lesions in thalamocortical compared to other brain white matter. Increased diffusivities and decreased fractional anisotropies were measured in the thalamocortical NAWM of CIS patients compared to controls. A step-wise regression analysis demonstrated that thalamocortical lesion volume and the mean diffusivity in track regions connecting lesion and thalami were significantly correlated with thalamic volumes in patients (Rsq=0.66, p<0.001), a finding not observed in regions outside the thalamocortical white matter. These results provide compelling evidence for a direct relationship between white matter lesions and thalamic atrophy in CIS patients.
The thalamic ultrastructural abnormalities in paroxysmal kinesigenic choreoathetosis: a diffusion tensor imaging study.
Zhou Bo,Chen Qin,Gong Qiyong,Tang Hehan,Zhou Dong
Journal of neurology
Paroxysmal kinesigenic choreoathetosis (PKC) is a rare neurologic disorder. There are not apparent morphological changes in patients with idiopathic PKC. The purpose of this study is to determine whether ultrastructural changes are in the brain of patients with idiopathic PKC using diffusion tensor imaging. From May 2007 to August 2008, seven patients with idiopathic PKC were included. The mean age at initial onset was 11.7 +/- 3.1 (range 8-17) years, and the mean disease duration was 6.9 +/- 5.1 (range 1-14) years. Seven subjects of an age- and sex-matched control group were recruited. DTI data were obtained with a 3-T scanner. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were obtained in eight brain regions of interest. Patients with idiopathic PKC had significantly higher FA values than controls in the right thalamus (P < 0.05 Bonferroni corrected). Patients also had lower MD values than controls in the left thalamus (P < 0.05 Bonferroni corrected). FA and MD values were not significantly correlated with age of onset, gender, frequency of attack and duration of the disease. The results showed that in patients with idiopathic PKC, diffusion tensor imaging discloses distinct ultrastructural abnormalities in the thalamus. DTI is a sensitive neuroradiologic technique for detecting cerebral alterations in patients even without visible lesions on conventional MRI.
Micro-structural white matter abnormalities in type 2 diabetic patients: a DTI study using TBSS analysis.
Tan Xin,Fang Peng,An Jie,Lin Huan,Liang Yi,Shen Wen,Leng Xi,Zhang Chi,Zheng Yanting,Qiu Shijun
INTRODUCTION:Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have usually been found cognitive impairment associated with brain white matter (WM) abnormalities. However, findings have varied across studies, and any potential relationship with Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the whole-brain WM integrity of T2DM patients and to compare our findings with those of published AD cases. METHODS:In this study, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) combined with tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) to investigate whole-brain WM abnormalities in 48 T2DM patients and 48 healthy controls. The effects of age and gender were also evaluated. RESULTS:In our study, significantly decreasing FA and increasing MD and DA values (P<0.05) were found in some WM regions closely related to the default mode network (DMN), including cingulum, the right frontal lobe involving the right uncinate fasciculus (UF), bilateral parietal lobes involving the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), and the right middle temporal gyrus (MTG) involving the UF and the ILF. We also found abnormalities in the thalamus involving the fornix (FX), anterior thalamic radiation (ATR), and posterior thalamic radiation (PTR). The damaged regions above are similar to those found in patients with AD, as reported in previous studies. CONCLUSION:The present study not only provides useful information about the WM regions and tracts affected by T2DM but also offers insight into the underlying neuropathological process in T2DM patients and the relationship between T2DM and AD.
Functional constipation is associated with alterations in thalamo-limbic/parietal structural connectivity.
Zhang Zhida,Hu Yang,Lv Ganggang,Wang Jia,He Yang,Zhang Lei,Li Hao,von Deneen Karen M,Wang Huaning,Duan Shijun,Zhang Junwang,Hou Qiuqiu,Pan Yanan,Zhao Yu,Mao Kuanrong,Wang Fan,Zhang Yi,Cui Guangbin,Nie Yongzhan
Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society
BACKGROUND:Functional constipation (FCon) is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) with a high prevalence in clinical practice. Previous studies have identified that FCon is associated with functional and structural alterations in the primary brain regions involved in emotional arousal processing, sensory processing, somatic/motor-control, and self-referential processing. However, whether FCon is associated with abnormal structural connectivity (SC) among these brain regions remains unclear. METHODS:We selected the brain regions with functional and structural abnormalities as seed regions and employed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with probabilistic tractography to investigate SC changes in 29 patients with FCon and 31 healthy controls (HC). KEY RESULTS:Results showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in the fibers connecting the thalamus, a region involved in sensory processing, with the amygdala (AMY), hippocampal gyrus (HIPP), precentral (PreCen) and postcentral gyrus (PostCen), supplementary motor area (SMA) and precuneus in patients with FCon compared with HC. FCon had higher mean diffusivity (MD) and radial diffusivity (RD) in the thalamus connected to the AMY and HIPP. In addition, FCon had significantly increased RD of the thalamus-SMA tract. Sensation of incomplete evacuation was negatively correlated with FA of the thalamus-PostCen and thalamus-HIPP tracts, and there was a negative correlation between difficulty of defecation and FA of the thalamus-SMA tract. CONCLUSIONS AND INFERENCES:These findings reflected that FCon is associated with alterations in SC between the thalamus and limbic/parietal cortex, highlighting the integrative role of the thalamus in brain structural network.
Altered MRI Diffusion Properties of the White Matter Tracts Connecting Frontal and Thalamic Brain Regions in First-Episode, Drug-Naïve Patients With Postpartum Depression.
Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI
BACKGROUND:Although progress has been made in exploring postpartum depression (PPD), the involvement of cerebral structure connectivity in PPD patients keeps unclear. PURPOSE:To explore structural connectivity alternations in mothers with PPD, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and automated fiber quantification (AFQ) were used to calculate brain white matter microstructure properties. STUDY TYPE:Cross-sectional. POPULATION:A total of 51 women with first-episode, treatment-näive PPD, and 49 matched healthy postpartum women (HPW) controls. FIELD STRENGTH:A 3.0 T; single-shot echo-planar imaging sequence. ASSESSMENT:DTI measurements of fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD) and mean diffusivity (MD) were obtained for 18 specific white matter tracts. The relationship between PDD symptoms, hormone levels, and postpartum days was also investigated. STATISTICAL TESTS:Two sample t test and Pearson's correlation analysis. The analysis was performed by using a permutation-based multiple-comparison correction approach, with the threshold of P < 0.05 (family wise error corrected [FWE-corrected]) separately across the four different outcome measures. RESULTS:Women with PPD showed significantly increased FA and AD in right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) tract and significantly increased FA and significantly reduced RD in the cingulum tract, compared to women without PPD. The RD values of right cingulum were significantly positively correlated with postpartum days in HPW (r = 0.39). There were no significant relationships between brain measures and hormone levels in either patients or controls. DATA CONCLUSIONS:DTI measures have revealed altered integrity in the white matter of the cortical-thalamic circuits in women with PPD compared to HPW. Damage to these circuits may be a structural basis for the impaired emotional regulation and blunted mother-infant bonding in mothers with PPD and a potential target for the development of new treatments. EVIDENCE LEVEL:2 TECHNICAL EFFICACY: Stage 3.
Investigation of the motor system in two siblings with Canavan's disease: a combined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) - diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study.
Kimiskidis V K,Papaliagkas Vasileios,Papagiannopoulos S,Zafeiriou D,Kazis D,Tsatsali-Foroglou E,Kouvatsou Z,Kapina V,Koutsonikolas D,Anogianakis G,Geroukis T,Bostantjopoulou S
Metabolic brain disease
Canavan's disease (CD) is a hereditary leukodystrophy caused by mutations in the aspartoacylase gene (ASPA), leading to spongiform degeneration of the white matter and severe impairment of psychomotor development. We present the cases of two non-Jewish sisters with CD that have a milder and protracted clinical course compared to typical CD. MRI imaging revealed bilateral high-signal-intensity areas in the thalami and the internal capsule and MR spectroscopy showed typical findings for CD (a marked increase in N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels). FA values of the right and left corticospinal tracts at the level of the posterior limb of the internal capsule, and the centrum semiovale were found to be significantly reduced compared to healthy controls. From a neurophysiological point of view, the peripheral motor system was normal. In contrast, cortical stimulation at maximal intensity failed to elicit facilitated or resting MEPs and silent periods (SPs) in upper and lower limbs, providing evidence for significant upper motor pathway dysfunction.
Microstructures in striato-thalamo-orbitofrontal circuit in methamphetamine users.
Li Yadi,Dong Haibo,Li Feng,Wang Gaoyan,Zhou Wenhua,Yu Rongbin,Zhang Lingjun
Acta radiologica (Stockholm, Sweden : 1987)
Background Striato-thalamo-orbitofrontal (STO) circuit plays a key role in the development of drug addiction. Few studies have investigated its microstructural abnormalities in methamphetamine (MA) users. Purpose To evaluate the microstructural changes and relevant clinical relevance of the STO circuit in MA users using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Material and Methods Twenty-eight MA users and 28 age-matched normal volunteers were enrolled. 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was employed to obtain structural T1-weighted (T1W) imaging and diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) data. Freesurfer software was used for automated segmentation of the bilateral nucleus accumbens (NAc), thalami, and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Four DTI measures maps, fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusion (AD), and radial diffusion (RD) were generated and non-linearly co-registered to structural space. Comparisons of DTI measures of the STO circuit were carried out between MA and controls using repeated measures analysis of variance. Correlation analyses were performed between STO circuit DTI measures and clinical characteristics. Results The MA group had significant FA reduction in the bilateral NAc, OFC, and right thalamus ( P < 0.05). Lower left OFC FA and right NAc FA/AD were associated with longer duration of MA use. Lower right OFC FA was associated with younger age at first MA use. Higher FA and lower MD/RD in the thalamus, as well as higher left OFC RD, were associated with increased psychiatric symptoms. Conclusion The STO circuit has reduced microstructural integrity in MA users. Microstructural changes in the thalamus may compensate for dysfunction in functionally connected cortices, which needs further investigation.
Limbic-Auditory Interactions of Tinnitus: An Evaluation Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
Gunbey H P,Gunbey E,Aslan K,Bulut T,Unal A,Incesu L
OBJECTIVE:Tinnitus is defined as an imaginary subjective perception in the absence of an external sound. Convergent evidence proposes that tinnitus perception includes auditory, attentional and emotional components. The aim of this study was to investigate the thalamic, auditory and limbic interactions associated with tinnitus-related distress by Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). METHODS:A total of 36 tinnitus patients, 20 healthy controls underwent an audiological examination, as well as a magnetic resonance imaging protocol including structural and DTI sequences. All participants completed the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Visual Analog Scales (VAS) related with tinnitus. The fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were obtained for the auditory cortex (AC), inferior colliculus (IC), lateral lemniscus (LL), medial geniculate body (MGB), thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), amygdala (AMG), hippocampus (HIP), parahippocampus (PHIP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). RESULTS:In tinnitus patients the FA values of IC, MGB, TRN, AMG, HIP decreased and the ADC values of IC, MGB, TRN, AMG, PHIP increased significantly. The contralateral IC-LL and bilateral MGB FA values correlated negatively with hearing loss. A negative relation was found between the AMG-HIP FA values and THI and VAS scores. Bilateral ADC values of PHIP and PFC significantly correlated with the attention deficiency-VAS scores. CONCLUSION:In conclusion, this is the first DTI study to investigate the grey matter structures related to tinnitus perception and the significant correlation of FA and ADC with clinical parameters suggests that DTI can provide helpful information for tinnitus. Magnifying the microstructures in DTI can help evaluate the three faces of tinnitus nature: hearing, emotion and attention.
Thalamic changes in temporal lobe epilepsy with and without hippocampal sclerosis: a diffusion tensor imaging study.
Kim Chi Heon,Koo Bang-Bon,Chung Chun Kee,Lee Jong-Min,Kim June Sic,Lee Sang Kun
OBJECTIVE:The seizure network may be different between temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (TLE+HS) and without HS (TLE-HS). Chronic seizure activity may alter the diffusion properties of a seizure network. The thalamus is known to have an anatomical connection to the medial temporal area and to play a role in seizure modulation. This study aimed to evaluate differences in thalamic changes between TLE+HS and TLE-HS with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). METHODS:Nine patients with TLE+HS and nine patients with TLE-HS were included in the study. All patients underwent surgery with good seizure outcomes. Hippocampal sclerosis was verified pathologically. Sixteen right-handed, normal subjects were enrolled as controls. DTI was acquired using 3.0 T MRI. The mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were calculated in the center of the bilateral thalamus with the DTIstudio program. RESULTS:The MD of bilateral thalami increased in both TLE groups compared to controls (p<0.05), while FA values did not differ from controls. The MD of the thalamus ipsilateral to the epileptogenic side was higher in the TLE+HS group than in the TLE-HS group (p=0.007). Onset age, seizure duration, seizure frequency and total seizure number were not correlated with FA and MD changes (p>0.05). CONCLUSION:Bilateral thalamic diffusion properties are altered in temporal lobe epilepsy. The presence of hippocampal sclerosis enhances the change ipsilaterally.
Visualising the topography of the acoustic radiation in clinical diffusion tensor imaging scans.
Dhir S Bryn,Kutten Kwame S,Li Muwei,Faria Andreia V,Younes Laurent,Ratnanather J Tilak
PURPOSE:It has long been thought that the acoustic radiation (AR) white matter fibre tract from the medial geniculate body of the thalamus to the Heschl's gyrus cannot be reconstructed via single-fibre analysis of clinical diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans. A recently developed single-fibre probabilistic method suggests otherwise. The method uses dynamic programming (DP) to compute the most probable paths between two regions of interest. This study aims to observe the ability of single-fibre probabilistic analysis via DP to visualise the AR in clinical DTI scans from legacy pilot cohorts of subjects with normal hearing (NH) and profound hearing loss (HL). METHODS:Single-fibre probabilistic analysis via DP was applied to reconstruct 3D models of the AR in the two cohorts. DTI and T1 data at 1.5 T for subjects with NH (n = 11) and HL (n = 5), as well as 3 T for NH (n = 1) and HL (n = 1), were used. RESULTS:The topographical features of AR previously observed in post-mortem and multi-fibre analyses can be visualised in DTI scans of 16 subjects and 2 atlases with a success rate of 100%. Relative to MNI coordinates, there was no significant difference in the varifold distances between the topography of the tracts in the 1.5 T cohort. CONCLUSION:The AR can be visualised in clinical 1.5 T and 3 T DTI scans using single-fibre probabilistic analysis via DP, hence, the potential for DP to visualise the AR in medical and pre-surgical applications in pathologies such as vestibular schwannoma, multiple sclerosis, thalamic tumours and stroke as well as hearing loss.
Diffusion tensor imaging shows different topographic involvement of the thalamus in progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration.
Erbetta A,Mandelli M L,Savoiardo M,Grisoli M,Bizzi A,Soliveri P,Chiapparini L,Prioni S,Bruzzone M G,Girotti F
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:In progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD), postmortem studies show different topographic involvement of the thalamus, basal ganglia, and their cortical connections. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an MR imaging technique sensitive to gray and white matter microstructure integrity. This study was performed to determine whether DTI may demonstrate microstructural differences between PSP and CBD, particularly within the thalamus and its cortical connections. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Nine patients with probable PSP, 11 with probable CBD, and 7 controls formed the study group. Apparent diffusion coefficient average (ADC(ave)) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured in regions of interest positioned in the ventrolateral (motor), medial, anterior, and posterior regions of the thalami, basal ganglia, fronto-orbital white matter, cingulum, supplementary motor area (SMA), and precentral and postcentral gyri in patients and controls. RESULTS:In PSP, ADC(ave) values were increased in several areas: the thalamus, particularly in its anterior and medial nuclei; cingulum; motor area; and SMA. FA values were particularly decreased in the fronto-orbital white matter, anterior cingulum, and motor area. In CBD, ADC(ave) was increased in the motor thalamus, in the precentral and postcentral gyri, ipsilateral to the affected frontoparietal cortex, and in the bilateral SMA. FA was mainly decreased in the precentral gyrus and SMA, followed by the postcentral gyrus and cingulum. CONCLUSIONS:In patients with PSP, thalamic involvement was diffuse and prevalent in its anterior part, whereas in CBD involvement was asymmetric and confined to the motor thalamus. DTI may be useful in the differential diagnosis of these 2 parkinsonian disorders.
Diffusion tensor-MRI evidence for extra-axonal neuronal degeneration in caudate and thalamic nuclei of patients with multiple sclerosis.
Hannoun S,Durand-Dubief F,Confavreux C,Ibarrola D,Streichenberger N,Cotton F,Guttmann C R G,Sappey-Marinier D
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:MS is an inflammatory demyelinating disease affecting both WM and GM. While WM lesions are easily visualized by conventional MR imaging, the detection of GM alterations remains challenging. This diffusion tensor MR imaging study aimed to detect and characterize diffuse microscopic alterations in 2 deep GM structures, the caudate nucleus and the thalamus, in patients with RR and SP MS. The relationship between diffusivity markers, and atrophy of the caudate and the thalamus, as well as brain lesion load and clinical status of the patients was also explored. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Twenty-three RR and 18 SP patients, along with 27 healthy controls, underwent MR imaging examination including anatomic and DTI acquisitions. Volumes, mean FA, and MD of the caudate and the thalamus, as well as WM lesion volumes, were assessed. RESULTS:FA was significantly (P < .001) increased in the caudate and the thalamus of patients with MS compared with controls, and was higher in SP compared with RR patients. Increased FA was associated with volume decreases of caudate (r = -0.712; P < .001) and thalamus (r = -0.407; P < .01) in patients with MS. WM T2 lesion load was significantly associated with caudate (r = 0.611; P < .001) and thalamic (r = 0.354; P < .05) FA. Caudate FA, and, to a lesser extent, thalamic FA, were associated with functional deficits, as measured by EDSS and MSFC. CONCLUSIONS:Increased FA in the caudate and the thalamus may constitute a sensitive marker of MS pathologic processes, such as loss of dendrites and/or swelling of neuronal cell bodies.
The neural connectivity of the intralaminar thalamic nuclei in the human brain: a diffusion tensor tractography study.
Jang Sung Ho,Lim Hyoung Won,Yeo Sang Seok
Research on the neural connectivity of the intralaminar thalamic nuclei (ILN) has been limited. Since the introduction of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), many probabilistic DTI studies have reported on neural connectivity of neural structures in normal subjects. However, no study on the neural connectivity of the ILN has been reported so far. In this study, using probabilistic DTI, we investigated the neural connectivity of the ILN in normal subjects. A total of 40 healthy subjects were recruited for this study. A seed region of interest was placed on the ILN of the thalamus using the FMRIB Software Library. Connectivity was defined as the incidence of connection between the ILN and target brain areas. We found high connectivity between the ILN and arousal-related areas (prefrontal cortex 100%, reticular formation 100%, pedunculopontine nucleus 97.5%, basal forebrain 95%, and hypothalamus 92.5% at threshold 5), attention related area (prefrontal cortex 100% at threshold 5), and sensori-motor function related areas (primary motor cortex 100%, globus pallidus 100%, putamen 98.8%, premotor cortex 96.3%, primary somatosensory cortex 95.0%, caudate nucleus 92.5%, and posterior parietal cortex 90.0% at threshold 5). Findings of this study showed that ILN has high connectivity with brain areas related to arousal, attention, and sensorimotor function. This result indicates a close association of ILN with these functions in the human brain.
Early detection of secondary damage in ipsilateral thalamus after acute infarction at unilateral corona radiata by diffusion tensor imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Li Chuo,Ling Xueying,Liu Sirun,Xu Anding,Zhang Yusheng,Xing Shihui,Pei Zhong,Zeng Jinsheng
BACKGROUND:Traditional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can identify abnormal changes in ipsilateral thalamus in patients with unilateral middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarcts. However, it is difficult to demonstrate these early changes quantitatively. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) are potentially sensitive and quantitative methods of detection in examining changes of tissue microstructure and metabolism. In this study, We used both DTI and MRS to examine possible secondary damage of thalamus in patients with corona radiata infarction. METHODS:Twelve patients with unilateral corona radiata infarction underwent MR imaging including DTI and MRS at one week (W1), four weeks (W4), and twelve weeks (W12) after onset of stroke. Twelve age-matched controls were imaged. Mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), N-acetylaspartate (NAA), choline(Cho), and creatine(Cr) were measured in thalami. RESULTS:T1-weighted fluid attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR), T2-weighted, and T2-FLAIR imaging showed an infarct at unilateral corona radiate but no other lesion in each patient brain. In patients, MD was significantly increased at W12, compared to W1 and W4 (all P< 0.05). NAA was significantly decreased at W4 compared to W1, and at W12 compared to W4 (all P< 0.05) in the ipsilateral thalamus. There was no significant change in FA, Cho, or Cr in the ipsilateral thalamus from W1 to W12. Spearman's rank correlation analysis revealed a significant negative correlation between MD and the peak area of NAA, Cho, and Cr at W1, W4, and W12 and a significant positive correlation of FA with NAA at W1. CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that DTI and MRS can detect the early changes indicating secondary damage in the ipsilateral thalamus after unilateral corona radiata infarction. MRS may reveal the progressive course of damage in the ipsilateral thalamus over time.
Comparison of two different analysis approaches for DTI free-water corrected and uncorrected maps in the study of white matter microstructural integrity in individuals with depression.
Bergamino Maurizio,Kuplicki Rayus,Victor Teresa A,Cha Yoon-Hee,Paulus Martin P
Human brain mapping
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has often been used to examine white matter (WM) tract abnormalities in depressed subjects, but these studies have yielded inconsistent results, probably, due to gender composition or small sample size. In this study, we applied different analysis pipelines to a relatively large sample of individuals with depression to determine whether previous findings in depression can be replicated with these pipelines. We used a "standard" DTI algorithm and maps computed through a free-water (FW) corrected DTI. This latter algorithm is able to identify and separate the effects of extracellular FW on DTI metrics. Additionally, skeletonized and WM voxel-based analysis (VBA) methods were used. Using the skeletonized method, DTI maps showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in depressed subjects in the left brain hemisphere, including the anterior thalamic radiation (ATR L), cortical spinal tract (CST L), inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF L). Differences in radial diffusivity (RD) were also found. For the VBA using RD, we found different results when we used FW uncorrected and corrected DTI metrics. Relative to the VBA approach, the skeletonized analysis was able to identify more clusters where WM integrity was altered in depressed individuals. Different significant correlations were found between RD and the Patient Health Questionnaire in the CST L, and SLF L. In conclusion, the skeletonized method revealed more clusters than the VBA and individuals with depression showed multiple WM abnormalities, some of which were correlated with disease severity Hum Brain Mapp 38:4690-4702, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Men and women are different: diffusion tensor imaging reveals sexual dimorphism in the microstructure of the thalamus, corpus callosum and cingulum.
Menzler K,Belke M,Wehrmann E,Krakow K,Lengler U,Jansen A,Hamer H M,Oertel W H,Rosenow F,Knake S
INTRODUCTION:Numerous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have addressed the question of morphological differences of the brain of men and women, reporting conflicting results regarding brain size and the ratio of gray and white matter. In the present study, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to delineate sex differences of brain white matter. METHODS:We investigated brain microstructure in 25 male and 25 female healthy subjects using a 3T MRI scanner. Whole-head DTI scans were analyzed without a-priori hypothesis using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) calculating maps of fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD, a potential marker of glial alteration and changes in myelination) and axial diffusivity (AD, a potential marker of axonal changes). RESULTS:DTI revealed regional microstructural differences between the brains of male and female subjects. Those were prominent in the thalamus, corpus callosum and cingulum. Men showed significantly (p<0.0001) higher values of fractional anisotropy and lower radial diffusivity in these areas, suggesting that the observed differences are mainly due to differences in myelination. DISCUSSION:As a novel finding we showed widespread differences in thalamic microstructure that have not been described previously. Additionally, the present study confirmed earlier DTI studies focusing on sexual dimorphism in the corpus callosum and cingulum. All changes appear to be based on differences in myelination. The sex differences in thalamic microstructure call for further studies on the underlying cause and the behavioral correlates of this sexual dimorphism. Future DTI group studies may carefully control for gender to avoid confounding.
Thalamic involvement and its impact on clinical disability in patients with multiple sclerosis: a diffusion tensor imaging study at 3T.
Tovar-Moll F,Evangelou I E,Chiu A W,Richert N D,Ostuni J L,Ohayon J M,Auh S,Ehrmantraut M,Talagala S L,McFarland H F,Bagnato F
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Several studies suggest that grey matter involvement may play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) at 3T was used to investigate the presence of damage to the normal-appearing thalamus in MS and its relationship with disability. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Twenty-four patients with relapsing-remitting (RR, n = 13, age = 41.7 +/- 6.1, Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] score = 2.2 +/- 1.2) and secondary-progressive (n = 11, age = 46.9 +/- 9.6, EDSS = 5.9 +/- 1.0) MS and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers were studied. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were measured in regions of interest of normal-appearing thalamus. We examined group differences in MD and FA and correlations between DTI-derived metrics and clinical or imaging measures of disease. RESULTS:Patients with MS had higher thalamic FA (P < .0001) and MD (P = .035) than volunteers. MD values correlated with the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (r = -0.43, P = .034) and motor EDSS (r = 0.47, P = .021) scores. In patients with RRMS, MD values correlated with global EDSS (r = 0.75, P = .003) and motor EDSS (r = 0.68, P = .010). Correlations were found between MD values and T1 and T2 lesion load (r = 0.58, P < .05) and brain parenchymal fraction (r = -0.46, P < .05). CONCLUSIONS:DTI was able to detect abnormalities in normal-appearing thalamus of patients with MS. The strength of association between thalamic DTI measures and functional impairment was in the same range as those seen with standard MR imaging disease measures. The assessment of the integrity of the thalamus with DTI is a promising metric as a marker of disease for future studies.
A robust method for investigating thalamic white matter tracts after traumatic brain injury.
Squarcina Letizia,Bertoldo Alessandra,Ham Timothy E,Heckemann Rolf,Sharp David J
Damage to the structural connections of the thalamus is a frequent feature of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can be a key factor in determining clinical outcome. Until recently it has been difficult to quantify the extent of this damage in vivo. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) provides a validated method to investigate traumatic axonal injury, and can be applied to quantify damage to thalamic connections. DTI can also be used to assess white matter tract structure using tractography, and this technique has been used to study thalamo-cortical connections in the healthy brain. However, the presence of white matter injury can cause failure of tractography algorithms. Here, we report a method for investigating thalamo-cortical connectivity that bypasses the need for individual tractography. We first created a template for a number of thalamo-cortical connections using probabilistic tractography performed in ten healthy subjects. This template for investigating white matter structure was validated by comparison with individual tractography in the same group, as well as in an independent control group (N=11). We also evaluated two methods of masking tract location using the tract skeleton generated by tract based spatial statistics, and a cerebrospinal fluid mask. Voxel-wise estimates of fractional anisotropy derived from the template were more strongly correlated with individual tractography when both types of masking were used. The tract templates were then used to sample DTI measures from a group of TBI patients (N=22), with direct comparison performed against probabilistic tractography in individual patients. Probabilistic tractography often failed to produce anatomically plausible tracts in TBI patients. Importantly, we show that this problem increases as tracts become more damaged, and leads to underestimation of the amount of traumatic axonal injury. In contrast, the tract template can be used in these cases, allowing a more accurate assessment of white matter damage. In summary, we propose a method suitable for assessing specific thalamo-cortical white matter connections after TBI that is robust to the presence of varying amounts of traumatic axonal injury, as well as highlighting the potential problems of applying tractography algorithms in patient populations.
Diffusion tensor tractography of the mammillothalamic tract in the human brain using a high spatial resolution DTI technique.
Kamali Arash,Zhang Caroline C,Riascos Roy F,Tandon Nitin,Bonafante-Mejia Eliana E,Patel Rajan,Lincoln John A,Rabiei Pejman,Ocasio Laura,Younes Kyan,Hasan Khader M
The mammillary bodies as part of the hypothalamic nuclei are in the central limbic circuitry of the human brain. The mammillary bodies are shown to be directly or indirectly connected to the amygdala, hippocampus, and thalami as the major gray matter structures of the human limbic system. Although it is not primarily considered as part of the human limbic system, the thalamus is shown to be involved in many limbic functions of the human brain. The major direct connection of the thalami with the hypothalamic nuclei is known to be through the mammillothalamic tract. Given the crucial role of the mammillothalamic tracts in memory functions, diffusion tensor imaging may be helpful in better visualizing the surgical anatomy of this pathway noninvasively. This study aimed to investigate the utility of high spatial resolution diffusion tensor tractography for mapping the trajectory of the mammillothalamic tract in the human brain. Fifteen healthy adults were studied after obtaining written informed consent. We used high spatial resolution diffusion tensor imaging data at 3.0 T. We delineated, for the first time, the detailed trajectory of the mammillothalamic tract of the human brain using deterministic diffusion tensor tractography.
Abnormal structural connectivity between the basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal cortex in patients with disorders of consciousness.
Weng Ling,Xie Qiuyou,Zhao Ling,Zhang Ruibin,Ma Qing,Wang Junjing,Jiang Wenjie,He Yanbin,Chen Yan,Li Changhong,Ni Xiaoxiao,Xu Qin,Yu Ronghao,Huang Ruiwang
Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
Consciousness loss in patients with severe brain injuries is associated with reduced functional connectivity of the default mode network (DMN), fronto-parietal network, and thalamo-cortical network. However, it is still unclear if the brain white matter connectivity between the above mentioned networks is changed in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). In this study, we collected diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data from 13 patients and 17 healthy controls, constructed whole-brain white matter (WM) structural networks with probabilistic tractography. Afterward, we estimated and compared topological properties, and revealed an altered structural organization in the patients. We found a disturbance in the normal balance between segregation and integration in brain structural networks and detected significantly decreased nodal centralities primarily in the basal ganglia and thalamus in the patients. A network-based statistical analysis detected a subnetwork with uniformly significantly decreased structural connections between the basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal cortex in the patients. Further analysis indicated that along the WM fiber tracts linking the basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal cortex, the fractional anisotropy was decreased and the radial diffusivity was increased in the patients compared to the controls. Finally, using the receiver operating characteristic method, we found that the structural connections within the NBS-derived component that showed differences between the groups demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity (>90%). Our results suggested that major consciousness deficits in DOC patients may be related to the altered WM connections between the basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal cortex.
Involvement of the anterior thalamic radiation in boys with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: a Diffusion Tensor Imaging study.
Cheon Keun-Ah,Kim Young-Shin,Oh Se-Hong,Park Sung-Yeon,Yoon Hyo-Woon,Herrington John,Nair Aarti,Koh Yun-Joo,Jang Dong-Pyo,Kim Young-Bo,Leventhal Bennett L,Cho Zang-Hee,Castellanos F Xavier,Schultz Robert T
BACKGROUND:Autism has been hypothesized to reflect neuronal disconnection. Several recent reports implicate the key thalamic relay nuclei and cortico-thalamic connectivity in the pathophysiology of autism. Accordingly, we aimed to focus on evaluating the integrity of the thalamic radiation and sought to replicate prior white matter findings in Korean boys with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). METHODS:We compared fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) in 17 boys with ASD and 17 typically developing controls in the anterior thalamic radiation (ATR), superior thalamic radiation (STR), posterior thalamic radiation (PTR), corpus callosum (CC), uncinate fasciculus (UF) and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). RESULTS:The two groups were group-matched on age, IQ, handedness and head circumference. In whole-brain voxel-wise analyses, FA was significantly reduced and MD was significantly increased in the right ATR, CC, and left UF in subjects with ASD (p<0.05, corrected). We found significantly lower FA in right and left ATR, CC, left UF and right and left ILF and significantly higher MD values of the CC in the ASD group in region of interest-based analyses. We also observed significantly higher RD values of right and left ATR, CC, left UF, left ILF in subjects with ASD compared to typically developing boys and significantly lower AD values of both ILF. Right ATR and right UF FA was significantly negatively correlated with total SRS score within the ASD group (r=-.56, p=.02). CONCLUSIONS:Our preliminary findings support evidence implicating disturbances in the thalamo-frontal connections in autism. These findings highlight the role of hypoconnectivity between the frontal cortex and thalamus in ASD.
The variability of atlas-based targets in relation to surrounding major fibre tracts in thalamic deep brain stimulation.
Anthofer Judith,Steib Kathrin,Fellner Claudia,Lange Max,Brawanski Alexander,Schlaier Juergen
BACKGROUND:In essential tremor (ET), the main target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the thalamic ventralis intermedius nucleus (Vim). This target cannot be identified on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Therefore, targeting depends on probabilistic coordinates derived from stereotactic atlases. The goal of our study was to investigate the variability of atlas-based Vim targets in relation to surrounding major fibre tracts. METHODS:With the MRI and computed tomography (CT) scan data of ten patients who underwent DBS, we planned atlas based Vim targets in both hemispheres. We also performed deterministic fibre-tracking with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRTT), pyramidal tract (PT) and lemniscus medialis (LM) in all 20 hemispheres. Subsequently, we measured the distance from the atlas-based Vim target to each tract along the medial/lateral (x-coordinate), anterior/posterior (y-coordinate) and superior/inferior axis (z-coordinate). RESULTS:Seventeen out of 20 DRTTs could be depicted with our standardised DTI/fibre-tracking parameters. The PT and the LM could be displayed in all 20 hemispheres. The atlas-based Vim target was found inside the DRTT in 11 (concerning the x-coordinate) and 10 hemispheres (concerning the z-coordinate). Regarding the anterior/posterior direction, the target was posterior to the DRTT in 11 cases. In 19 hemispheres the Vim target was located medial and superior to the PT and in 17 hemispheres posterior to it. Concerning the LM, the Vim target was found inside the LM in 16 (regarding the x-coordinate) and in 14 cases (regarding the z-coordinate). In eight cases it was located inside and in 12 cases anterior to the LM concerning the y-coordinate. CONCLUSIONS:We found a considerable variability of the location of atlas-based target points of the ventralis intermedius nucleus in relation to neighbouring major fibre tracts in individual patients. These results suggest that individualised targeting to structures not directly visible on conventional MRI is necessary.
Combined analyses of thalamic volume, shape and white matter integrity in first-episode schizophrenia.
Qiu Anqi,Zhong Jidan,Graham Steven,Chia Ming Ying,Sim Kang
The thalamus has been considered to be integral to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. To determine whether its anatomical abnormalities may be associated with cognitive deficits in the onset of schizophrenia, we assessed thalamic volume, shape, white matter integrity, and their correlations with cognition in patients with first-episode schizophrenia. T1-weighted magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor (DT) images were collected in 49 healthy comparison controls (CON) and 32 patients with FES (FES). Large deformation diffeomorphic metric mapping (LDDMM) algorithms were used to delineate and assess the thalamic shape from MRI scans. The thalamic white matter integrity was quantified by fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) averaged over the thalamus using DTI. Our analysis revealed that FES did not differ from CON in FA and MD but did differ markedly from them in the thalamic volume and shape. Patients with FES also performed poorly in spatial working memory and executive tasks. The correlation study found that regional thalamic shapes highly correlate with the two cognitive scores in the entire sample and healthy comparison controls but not in patients with FES even though no correlation was found between the thalamic volumes with the two cognitive scores in any group. Left thalamic FA was correlated with spatial working memory deficits in FES. Our findings suggest that thalamic volume and shape abnormalities are evident at the onset of FES prior to thalamic abnormal white matter integrity. Altered microstructural white matter integrity assessed using DTI may not be apparent in FES but may be observed as the disease progresses. Cognitive deficits related to spatial working memory and executive functioning in FES were observed in the context of loss of their normal relationship with the thalamic shapes, that is, regionally-specific thalamic shape compression is associated with poor performance in executive functioning and spatial working memory.
Disrupted thalamocortical connectivity in PSP: a resting-state fMRI, DTI, and VBM study.
Whitwell Jennifer L,Avula Ramesh,Master Ankit,Vemuri Prashanthi,Senjem Matthew L,Jones David T,Jack Clifford R,Josephs Keith A
Parkinsonism & related disorders
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is associated with pathological changes along the dentatorubrothalamic tract and in premotor cortex. We aimed to assess whether functional neural connectivity is disrupted along this pathway in PSP, and to determine how functional changes relate to changes in structure and diffusion. Eighteen probable PSP subjects and 18 controls had resting-state (task-free) fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging and structural MRI. Functional connectivity was assessed between thalamus and the rest of the brain, and within the basal ganglia, salience and default mode networks (DMN). Patterns of atrophy were assessed using voxel-based morphometry, and patterns of white matter tract degeneration were assessed using tract-based spatial statistics. Reduced in-phase functional connectivity was observed between the thalamus and premotor cortex including supplemental motor area (SMA), striatum, thalamus and cerebellum in PSP. Reduced connectivity in premotor cortex, striatum and thalamus were observed in the basal ganglia network and DMN, with subcortical salience network reductions. Tract degeneration was observed between cerebellum and thalamus and in superior longitudinal fasciculus, with grey matter loss in frontal lobe, premotor cortex, SMA and caudate nucleus. SMA functional connectivity correlated with SMA volume and measures of cognitive and motor dysfunction, while thalamic connectivity correlated with degeneration of superior cerebellar peduncles. PSP is therefore associated with disrupted thalamocortical connectivity that is associated with degeneration of the dentatorubrothalamic tract and the presence of cortical atrophy.
Multimodal MRI Assessment of Thalamic Structural Changes in Earthquake Survivors.
Bruno Federico,Splendiani Alessandra,Tommasino Emanuele,Conson Massimiliano,Quarantelli Mario,Saporito Gennaro,Carolei Antonio,Sacco Simona,Di Cesare Ernesto,Barile Antonio,Masciocchi Carlo,Pistoia Francesca
Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)
Moving from the central role of the thalamus in the integration of inner and external stimuli and in the implementation of a stress-related response, the objective of the present study was to investigate the presence of any MRI structural and volumetric changes of the thalamic structures in earthquake witnesses. Forty-one subjects were included, namely 18 university students belonging to the experimental earthquake-exposed group (8 males and 10 females, mean age 24.5 ± 1.8 years) and a control group of 23 students not living in any earthquake-affected areas at the time of the earthquake (14 males and 9 females, mean age 23.7 ± 2.0 years). Instrumental MRI evaluation was performed using a 3-Tesla scanner, by acquiring a three-dimensional fast spoiled gradient-echo (FSPGR) sequence for volumetric analysis and an EPI (echoplanar imaging) sequence to extract fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values. As compared to the control one, the experimental group showed significantly lower gray matter volume in the mediodorsal nucleus of the left thalamus ( < 0.001). The dominant hemisphere thalamus in the experimental group showed higher mean ADC values and lower mean FA values as compared to the control group.
Microstructure assessment of the thalamus in Wilson's disease using diffusion tensor imaging.
Li G,Zhou X,Xu P,Pan X,Chen Y
AIM:To assess diffusion changes of the thalamus in Wilson's disease using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). MATERIALS AND METHODS:Fifteen patients with Wilson's disease and an abnormal signal in the thalamus (designated as group 1) and 18 patients with Wilson's disease with a normal-appearing thalamus (designated as group 2) at conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were recruited. Fifteen age-matched and sex-matched healthy volunteers were also enrolled as the control group (designated as group 3). The fractional anisotropy (FA), primary eigenvalue (λ1), second eigenvalue (λ2), and third eigenvalue (λ3) of the thalamus were measured and the differences were compared. RESULTS:The FA values of the thalamus were different in the three groups (group 1: 0.36 ± 0.02; group 2: 0.38 ± 0.02; group 3: 0.43 ± 0.02; F = 54.51, p < 0.001). A statistically significant difference was observed between group 1 and group 2 (p = 0.003), group 1 and group 3 (p = 0.001), and group 2 and group 3 (p < 0.001). The λ1, λ2, and λ3 values of the thalamus were different in the three groups (1.11 ± 0.06 mm(2)/s, 1.11 ± 0.06 mm(2)/s, and 1.10 ± 0.04 mm(2)/s of λ1 in group 1, group 2, and group 3, respectively; 0.82 ± 0.08 mm(2)/s, 0.78 ± 0.05 mm(2)/s, and 0.72 ± 0.02 mm(2)/s of λ2 in group 1, group 2, and group 3, respectively; 0.52 ± 0.05 mm(2)/s, 0.49 ± 0.06 mm(2)/s, and 0.42 ± 0.06 mm(2)/s of λ3 in group 1, group 2, and group 3, respectively; F = 1.65, p = 0.203 of λ1; F = 10.55, p < 0.001 of λ2; F = 4.21, p = 0.021 of λ3; respectively). A statistically significant difference in the λ2 value was observed between group 1 and group 3 (p < 0.001) and group 2 and group 3 (p = 0.005). A statistically significant difference in the λ3 value was also observed between group 1 and group 3 (p = 0.007). No significant difference in the λ1 value was noted between each of the two groups. CONCLUSIONS:Damage of the thalamus in Wilson's disease patients can be detected using DTI. DTI may provide information regarding thalamus damage in patients with Wilson's disease before abnormal signals on conventional MRI.
Generation of individualized thalamus target maps by using statistical shape models and thalamocortical tractography.
Jakab A,Blanc R,Berényi E L,Székely G
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Neurosurgical interventions of the thalamus rely on transferring stereotactic coordinates from an atlas onto the patient's MR brain images. We propose a prototype application for performing thalamus target map individualization by fusing patient-specific thalamus geometric information and diffusion tensor tractography. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Previously, our workgroup developed a thalamus atlas by fusing anatomic information from 7 histologically processed thalami. Thalamocortical connectivity maps were generated from DTI scans of 40 subjects by using a previously described procedure and were mapped to a standard neuroimaging space. These data were merged into a statistical shape model describing the morphologic variability of the thalamic outline, nuclei, and connectivity landmarks. This model was used to deform the atlas to individual images. Postmortem MR imaging scans were used to quantify the accuracy of nuclei predictions. RESULTS:Reliable tractography-based markers were located in the ventral lateral thalamus, with the somatosensory connections coinciding with the VPLa and VPLp nuclei; and motor/premotor connections, with the VLpv and VLa nuclei. Prediction accuracy of thalamus outlines was higher with the SSM approach than the ACPC alignment of data (0.56 mm versus 1.24; Dice overlap: 0.87 versus 0.7); for individual nuclei: 0.65 mm, Dice: 0.63 (SSM); 1.24 mm, Dice: 0.4 (ACPC). CONCLUSIONS:Previous studies have already applied DTI to the thalamus. As a further step in this direction, we demonstrate a hybrid approach by using statistical shape models, which have the potential to cope with intersubject variations in individual thalamus geometry.
Diffusion tensor imaging of basal ganglia and thalamus in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Sharma Khema R,Sheriff Sulaiman,Maudsley Andrew,Govind Varan
Journal of neuroimaging : official journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging
PURPOSE:To assess the involvement of basal ganglia and thalamus in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) method. METHODS:Fourteen definite-ALS patients and 12 age-matched controls underwent whole brain DTI on a 3T scanner. Mean-diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were obtained bilaterally from the basal ganglia and thalamus in the regions-of-interest (ROIs). RESULTS:The MD was significantly higher (P < .02) in basal ganglia and thalamus in patients with ALS compared with controls. Correspondingly, the FA was significantly lower (P < .02) in these structures, except in caudate (P = .04) and putamen (P = .06) in patients compared with controls. There were mild to strong correlations (r = .3-.7) between the DTI measures of basal ganglia and finger-tap, foot-tap, and lip-and-tongue movement rate. CONCLUSIONS:The increased MD in basal ganglia and thalamus and decreased FA in globus pallidus and thalamus are indicative of neuronal loss or dysfunction in these structures.
A Novel Contrast for DTI Visualization for Thalamus Delineation.
Fan Xian,Thompson Meredith,Bogovic John A,Bazin Pierre-Louis,Prince Jerry L
Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering
It has been recently shown that thalamic nuclei can be automatically segmented using diffusion tensor images (DTI) under the assumption that principal fiber orientation is similar within a given nucleus and distinct between adjacent nuclei. Validation of these methods, however, is challenging because manual delineation is hard to carry out due to the lack of images showing contrast between the nuclei. In this paper, we present a novel gray-scale contrast for DTI visualization that accentuates voxels in which the orientations of the principal eigenvectors are changing, thus providing an edge map for the delineation of some thalamic nuclei. The method uses the principal fiber orientation computed from the diffusion tensors computed at each voxel. The three-dimensional orientations of the principal eigenvectors are represented as five dimensional vectors and the spatial gradient (matrix) of these vectors provide information about spatial changes in tensor orientation. In particular, an edge map is created by computing the Frobenius norm of this gradient matrix. We show that this process reveals distinct edges between large nuclei in the thalamus, thereby making manual delineation of the thalamic nuclei possible. We briefly describe a protocol for the manual delineation of thalamic nuclei based on this edge map used in conjunction with a registered T1-weighted MR image, and present a preliminary multi-rater evaluation of the volumes of thalamic nuclei in several subjects.
Thalamic projection fiber integrity in de novo Parkinson disease.
Planetta P J,Schulze E T,Geary E K,Corcos D M,Goldman J G,Little D M,Vaillancourt D E
AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Postmortem studies of advanced PD have revealed disease-related pathology in the thalamus with an apparent predilection for specific thalamic nuclei. In the present study, we used DTI to investigate in vivo the microstructural integrity of 6 thalamic regions in de novo patients with PD relative to healthy controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Forty subjects (20 with early stage untreated PD and 20 age- and sex-matched controls) were studied with a high-resolution DTI protocol at 3T to investigate the integrity of thalamic nuclei projection fibers. Two blinded, independent raters drew ROIs in the following 6 thalamic regions: AN, VA, VL, DM, VPL/VPM, and PU. FA values were then calculated from the projection fibers in each region. RESULTS:FA values were reduced significantly in the fibers projecting from the AN, VA, and DM, but not the VPL/VPM and PU, in the PD group compared with the control group. In addition, there was a reduction in FA values that approached significance in the VL of patients with PD. These findings were consistent across both raters. CONCLUSIONS:The present study provides preliminary in vivo evidence of thalamic projection fiber degeneration in de novo PD and sheds light on the extent of disrupted thalamic circuitry as a result of the disease itself.
Neurological soft signs predict abnormal cerebellar-thalamic tract development and negative symptoms in adolescents at high risk for psychosis: a longitudinal perspective.
Mittal Vijay A,Dean Derek J,Bernard Jessica A,Orr Joseph M,Pelletier-Baldelli Andrea,Carol Emily E,Gupta Tina,Turner Jessica,Leopold Daniel R,Robustelli Briana L,Millman Zachary B
INTRODUCTION:There is an emerging consensus that neurological soft signs (NSS) may not be "soft" at all but rather may reflect neuropathy, particularly in the cerebellum and thalamus. However, our understanding of connective tract abnormalities is limited, and to date, there have been no investigations examining NSS and longitudinal white matter development during the prodrome. Mapping the correlates of NSS in ultrahigh-risk (UHR) youth offers potential for highlighting a viable biomarker as well as for advancing understanding of pathogenic processes during the adolescent risk period. METHODS:A total of 68 (33 UHR and 35 healthy control) adolescents were assessed with an NSS inventory, structured interviews, and diffusion tensor imaging. Fractional anisotropy (FA) of theoretically relevant cerebellar-thalamic tracts was calculated (left/right superior cerebellar peduncles [SCPs]). Twelve months later, a subset of 30 (15 UHR and 15 control) participants returned for follow-up diffusion tension imaging/clinical assessments. RESULTS:UHR youth exhibited elevated NSS across domains. While there were no group differences in the integrity of the SCPs at baseline, controls showed a normative increase while the UHR group showed a decrease in FA over 12 months. NSS predicted a longitudinal decrease in cerebellar-thalamic FA and elevations in negative but not positive symptoms 12 months later. DISCUSSION:Findings of abnormal white matter development provide direct empirical evidence to support prominent neurodevelopmental theories. The predictive relationships between NSS and longitudinal cerebellar-thalamic tract integrity and negative symptom course provide insight into the role of cognitive dysmetria in the high-risk period and inform on a unique biomarker tied to core features underlying psychosis.
Thalamus and cognitive impairment in mild traumatic brain injury: a diffusional kurtosis imaging study.
Grossman Elan J,Ge Yulin,Jensen Jens H,Babb James S,Miles Laura,Reaume Joseph,Silver Jonathan M,Grossman Robert I,Inglese Matilde
Journal of neurotrauma
Conventional imaging is unable to detect damage that accounts for permanent cognitive impairment in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). While diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can help to detect diffuse axonal injury (DAI), it is a limited indicator of tissue complexity. It has also been suggested that the thalamus may play an important role in the development of clinical sequelae in mTBI. The purpose of this study was to determine if diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI), a novel quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, can provide early detection of damage in the thalamus and white matter (WM) of mTBI patients, and can help ascertain if thalamic injury is associated with cognitive impairment. Twenty-two mTBI patients and 14 controls underwent MRI and neuropsychological testing. Mean kurtosis (MK), fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean diffusivity (MD) were measured in the thalamus and several WM regions classically identified with DAI. Compared to controls, patients examined within 1 year after injury exhibited variously altered DTI- and DKI-derived measures in the thalamus and the internal capsule, while in addition to these regions, patients examined more than 1 year after injury also showed similar differences in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the centrum semiovale. Cognitive impairment was correlated with MK in the thalamus and the internal capsule. These findings suggest that combined use of DTI and DKI provides a more sensitive tool for identifying brain injury. In addition, MK in the thalamus might be useful for early prediction of permanent brain damage and cognitive outcome.
Thalamic diffusion and volumetry in temporal lobe epilepsy with and without mesial temporal sclerosis.
Gong Gaolang,Concha Luis,Beaulieu Christian,Gross Donald W
PURPOSE:As an important connection within the limbic system, considerable attention has been paid to thalamic pathology in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumetric studies have yielded variable results and have largely been focused on TLE with mesial temporal sclerosis (TLE+). Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) provides unique information on microstructure based on the measurement of water diffusion. To date, DTI properties of thalamus have not been well characterized in adult TLE patients with unilateral MTS or without MTS (TLE-). The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of thalamic integrity by using DTI as well as volumetric MRI in adult TLE+ and TLE- patients. METHOD:In 17 unilateral TLE+ patients, 10 TLE- patients and 26 controls, the thalamus was segmented by using an automated atlas-based method. Mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA) and volume were then quantified from DTI and 3D T1-weighted scans. RESULTS:No significant changes were found in either DTI parameters or volume of thalamus in TLE- patients, as compared to healthy controls. However, both DTI parameters and MRI volumetry showed bilateral thalamic pathology in TLE+ patients, as compared to healthy controls. Also, TLE+ patients showed significant reduction of thalamic volume as compared to TLE- patients. In addition, thalamic FA ipsilateral to seizure focus showed significant correlation with age at onset of epilepsy in TLE+ patients. CONCLUSION:Our finding demonstrates bilateral pathology of thalamus in unilateral TLE+ patients. The discrepancy in thalamic pathology between TLE+ and TLE- patients suggests that along with differences in mesial temporal pathology, TLE+ and TLE- have unique extratemporal structural abnormalities.
DTI detects water diffusion abnormalities in the thalamus that correlate with an extremity pain episode in a patient with multiple sclerosis.
Deppe Michael,Müller Dirk,Kugel Harald,Ruck Tobias,Wiendl Heinz,Meuth Sven G
BACKGROUND:Various types of multiple sclerosis (MS) related pain have been discussed. One concept is that deafferentation secondary to lesions in the spino-thalamo-cortical network can cause central pain. However, this hypothesis is somehow limited by a lack of a robust association between pain episodes and sites of lesion location. OBJECTIVE:We tested the hypothesis that temporary tissue alterations in the thalamus that are not detectable by conventional magnetic resonance imaging (T1w, FLAIR) can potentially explain a focal, paroxysmal central pain episode of a patient with MS. For microstructural tissue assessment we employed ten longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) examinations. RESULTS:We could demonstrate an abnormal, unilateral temporary increase of the fractional anisotropy (FA) in the thalamus contralateral to the affected body side. Before the pain episode and after pain relief the FA reached completely normal values as seen in identically investigated age and gender matched 100 healthy control subjects. CONCLUSION:THESE FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT: i.) frequently applied and quantitatively evaluated DTI could be used as a sensitive imaging technique for detection of pathological processes associated with MS not detectable with conventional imaging strategies, ii.) temporary pathological processes in the "normal-appearing" thalamus may explain waxing and waning symptoms like episodes of central pain, and iii.) cross-sectional case examinations on (MS) patients with central pain should be performed to investigate how often thalamic alterations occur together with central pain.
Aberrant Thalamocortical Connectivity in Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.
Jiang S,Luo C,Gong J,Peng R,Ma S,Tan S,Ye G,Dong L,Yao D
International journal of neural systems
The purpose of this study was to investigate the functional connectivity (FC) of thalamic subdivisions in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were acquired from 22 JME and 25 healthy controls. We first divided the thalamus into eight subdivisions by performing independent component analysis on tracking fibers and clustering thalamus-related FC maps. We then analyzed abnormal FC in each subdivision in JME compared with healthy controls, and we investigated their associations with clinical features. Eight thalamic sub-regions identified in the current study showed unbalanced thalamic FC in JME: decreased FC with the superior frontal gyrus and enhanced FC with the supplementary motor area in the posterior thalamus increased thalamic FC with the salience network (SN) and reduced FC with the default mode network (DMN). Abnormalities in thalamo-prefrontocortical networks might be related to the propagation of generalized spikes with frontocentral predominance in JME, and the network connectivity differences with the SN and DMN might be implicated in emotional and cognitive defects in JME. JME was also associated with enhanced FC among thalamic sub-regions and with the basal ganglia and cerebellum, suggesting the regulatory role of subcortical nuclei and the cerebellum on the thalamo-cortical circuit. Additionally, increased FC with the pallidum was positive related with the duration of disease. The present study provides emerging evidence of FC to understand that specific thalamic subdivisions contribute to the abnormalities of thalamic-cortical networks in JME. Moreover, the posterior thalamus could play a crucial role in generalized epileptic activity in JME.
Deep Brain Stimulation of the Dentato-Rubro-Thalamic Tract: Outcomes of Direct Targeting for Tremor.
Fenoy Albert J,Schiess Mya C
Neuromodulation : journal of the International Neuromodulation Society
OBJECTIVES:Targeting the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRTt) has been suggested to be efficacious in deep brain stimulation (DBS) for tremor suppression, both in case reports and post-hoc analyses. This prospective observational study sought to analyze outcomes after directly targeting the DRTt in tremor patients. METHODS:20 consecutively enrolled intention tremor patients obtained pre-operative MRI with diffusion tensor (dTi) sequences. Mean baseline tremor amplitude based on The Essential Tremor Rating Assessment Scale was recorded. The DRTt was drawn for each individual on StealthViz software (Medtronic) using the dentate nucleus as the seed region and the ipsilateral pre-central gyrus as the end region and then directly targeted during surgery. Intraoperative testing confirmed successful tremor control. Post-operative analysis of electrode position relative to the DRTt was performed, as was post-operative assessment of tremor improvement. RESULTS:The mean age of patients was 66.8 years; mean duration of tremor was 16 years. Mean voltage for the L electrode = 3.4 V; R = 2.6 V. Mean distance from the center of the active electrode contact to the DRTt was 0.9 mm on the L, and 0.8 mm on the R. Improvement in arm tremor amplitude from baseline after DBS was significant (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION:Direct targeting of the DRTt in DBS is an effective strategy for tremor suppression. Accounting for hardware, software, and model limitations, depiction of the DRTt allows for placement of electrode contacts directly within the fiber tract for modulation despite any anatomical variation, which reproducibly resulted in good tremor control.
Hippocampus- and thalamus-related fiber-specific white matter reductions in mild cognitive impairment.
Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Early diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) fascinates screening high-risk Alzheimer's disease (AD). White matter is found to degenerate earlier than gray matter and functional connectivity during MCI. Although studies reveal white matter degenerates in the limbic system for MCI, how other white matter degenerates during MCI remains unclear. In our method, regions of interest with a high level of resting-state functional connectivity with hippocampus were selected as seeds to track fibers based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). In this way, hippocampus-temporal and thalamus-related fibers were selected, and each fiber's DTI parameters were extracted. Then, statistical analysis, machine learning classification, and Pearson's correlations with behavior scores were performed between MCI and normal control (NC) groups. Results show that: 1) the mean diffusivity of hippocampus-temporal and thalamus-related fibers are significantly higher in MCI and could be used to classify 2 groups effectively. 2) Compared with normal fibers, the degenerated fibers detected by the DTI indexes, especially for hippocampus-temporal fibers, have shown significantly higher correlations with cognitive scores. 3) Compared with the hippocampus-temporal fibers, thalamus-related fibers have shown significantly higher correlations with depression scores within MCI. Our results provide novel biomarkers for the early diagnoses of AD.
[The correlation of functional connectivity and structural connectivity between hippocampus and thalamus in Alzheimer's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment].
Feng F,Zhou B,Wang L,Yao H X,Guo Y E,An N Y,Wang L N,Zhang X
Zhonghua nei ke za zhi
To investigate the correlation of functional connectivity (FC) and the integrity of connective fibres between hippocampus and thalamus in Alzheimer's disease(AD) and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Both resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data of 40 AD patients, 37 aMCI patients and 41 normal control subjects matching with age and educational level were collected. These subjects were all recruited from outpatient Department of Neurology in the Second Medical Center of Chinese PLA General Hospital, as well as poster, from May 2016 to January 2018. The FC strength between bilateral hippocampus and thalamus, as well as the parameters representing integrity of connective fibres, including fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity(MD),were analyzed. Also, the correlations between FC strength and FA or MD strength were analyzed in the study. Compared to that of normal control subjects, the FC strength between billateral hippocampus and thalamus in patients with AD, aMCI were not significantly different(>0.05). The integrity of bilateral connective fibres between hippocampus and thalamus were damaged in AD patients when compared to normal control subjects(<0.01). A positive correlation of connective fibres integrity with FC strength between hippocampus and thalamus was found in the left side(=0.25,<0.05) but rather in the right side. In AD and aMCI patients, structural connectivity between left hippocampus and thalamus affects the functional connectivity between them.
Clinical significance of atrophy and white matter mean diffusivity within the thalamus of multiple sclerosis patients.
Benedict Ralph Hb,Hulst Hanneke E,Bergsland Niels,Schoonheim Menno M,Dwyer Michael G,Weinstock-Guttman Bianca,Geurts Jeroen Jg,Zivadinov Robert
Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)
BACKGROUND:Gray-matter (GM) atrophy is strongly predictive of cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The thalamus is the region where the atrophy/cognition correlation is most robust. However, few studies have assessed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics within the thalamus. OBJECTIVE:This study was designed to determine if thalamus white matter DTI predicts cognitive impairment after accounting for the effects of volume loss. METHODS:We enrolled 75 MS patients and 18 healthy controls undergoing 3T brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Thalamus volumes were calculated on 3D T1 images. Voxelwise analyses of DTI metrics were performed within the thalamic white matter tracts. Neuropsychological (NP) testing, acquired using consensus standard methods, contributed measures of memory, cognitive processing speed and executive function. RESULTS:All cognitive tests were significantly predicted (R (2) =0.31, p<0.001) by thalamus volume after accounting for influence of demographics. Mean diffusivity was retained in regression models predicting all cognitive tests, adding from 7-13% of additional explained variance (p<0.02) after accounting for thalamus volume. CONCLUSIONS:We confirm the significant role of thalamus atrophy in MS-associated cognitive disorder, and further report that subtle thalamus pathology as detected by DTI adds incremental explained variance in predicting cognitive impairment.
Abnormal white matter microstructure along the thalamus fiber pathways in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
He Juan,Dun Wanghuan,Han Fang,Wang Ke,Yang Jing,Ma Shaohui,Zhang Ming,Liu Jixin,Liu Hongjuan
Brain imaging and behavior
Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM) is a cyclic menstrual pain in the absence of pelvic anomalies, and women with PDM have an increased sensitivity to pain than the internal and external areas associated with menstrual pain. However, the brain abnormality in the ascending pain pathways in dysmenorrhea remains largely unclear. As the thalamus plays a significant role in transmission of nociceptive input, we examined whether white matter microstructure of the thalamus-related fiber tracts obtained by DTI in women with PDM (n = 47) differs from healthy controls. A novel tractography atlas-based analysis method that detects tract integrity and altered microstructural properties along selected fibers was employed. The fiber bundles of interest contained the thalamus- primary somatosensory cortex (SI), thalamus- dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)/supplementary motor area (SMA), thalamus-insula, and thalamus-ACC. As compared with controls, abnormal white matter microstructures were found along the thalamus-related white matter fiber tracts. Additionally, the intensity of menstrual pain was significantly associated with diffusion measures of thalamus-SI fiber connections. Our study suggested that the thalamus-related pain processing pathways had altered white matter integrity that persisted beyond the time of menstruation, and the white matter microstructure of the thalamus-SI pathways was closely related to menstrual pain in the intensity by women with PDM.
Regional changes in thalamic shape and volume with increasing age.
Hughes Emer J,Bond Jacqueline,Svrckova Patricia,Makropoulos Antonis,Ball Gareth,Sharp David J,Edwards A David,Hajnal Joeseph V,Counsell Serena J
The thalamus undergoes significant volume loss and microstructural change with increasing age. Alterations in thalamo-cortical connectivity may contribute to the decline in cognitive ability associated with aging. The aim of this study was to assess changes in thalamic shape and in the volume and diffusivity of thalamic regions parcellated by their connectivity to specific cortical regions in order to test the hypothesis age related thalamic change primarily affects thalamic nuclei connecting to the frontal cortex. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), we assessed thalamic volume and diffusivity in 86 healthy volunteers, median (range) age 44 (20-74) years. Regional thalamic micro and macro structural changes were assessed by segmenting the thalamus based on connectivity to the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices and determining the volumes and mean diffusivity of the thalamic projections. Linear regression analysis was performed to test the relationship between increasing age and (i) normalised thalamic volume, (ii) whole thalamus diffusion measures, (iii) mean diffusivity (MD) of the thalamo-cortical projections, and (iv) volumes of the thalamo-cortical projections. We also assessed thalamic shape change using vertex analysis. We observed a significant reduction in the volume and a significant increase in MD of the whole thalamus with increasing age. The volume of the thalamo-frontal projections decreased significantly with increasing age, however there was no significant relationship between the volumes of the thalamo-cortical projections to the parietal, temporal, and occipital cortex and age. Thalamic shape analysis showed that the greatest shape change was in the anterior thalamus, incorporating regions containing the anterior nucleus, the ventroanterior nucleus and the dorsomedial nucleus. To explore these results further we studied two additional groups of subjects (a younger and an older aged group, n=20), which showed that the volume of the thalamo-frontal projections was correlated to executive functions scores, as assessed by the Stroop test. These data suggest that atrophy of the frontal thalamo-cortical unit may explain, at least in part, disorders of attention, working memory and executive function associated with increasing age.
Altered states of consciousness in epilepsy: a DTI study of the brain.
Xie Fangfang,Xing Wu,Wang Xiaoyi,Liao Weihua,Shi Wei
The International journal of neuroscience
BACKGROUND:A disturbance in the level of consciousness is a classical clinical sign of several seizure types. Recent studies have shown that altered states of consciousness in seizures are associated with structural and functional changes of several brain regions. Prominent among these are the thalamus, the brain stem and the default mode network, which is part of the consciousness system. Our study used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to evaluate these brain regions in patients with three different types of epilepsies that are associated with altered consciousness: complex partial seizures (CPS), primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (PGTCS) or secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (SGTCS). Additionally, this study further explores the probable mechanisms underlying impairment of consciousness in seizures. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Conventional MRI and DTI scanning were performed in 51 patients with epilepsy and 51 healthy volunteers. The epilepsy group was in turn subdivided into three subgroups: CPS, PGTCS or SGTCS. Each subgroup comprised 17 patients. Each subject involved in the study underwent a DTI evaluation of the brain to measure the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values of nine regions of interest: the postero-superior portion of midbrain, the bilateral dorsal thalamus, the bilateral precuneus/posterior cingulate, the bilateral medial pre-frontal gyri and the bilateral supramarginalgyri. The statistical significance of the measured ADC and FA values between the experimental and control groups was analysed using the paired t-test, and one-way analysis of variance was performed for a comparative analysis between the three subgroups. RESULTS:Statistically significantly higher ADC values ( p < 0.01) were observed in the bilateral dorsal thalamus and postero-superior aspect of the midbrain in the three patient subgroups than in the control group. There were no significant changes in the ADC values ( p > 0.05) in the bilateral precuneus/posterior cingulate, bilateral medial pre-frontal gyri or bilateral supramarginalgyri in the experimental group. Among the three patient subgroups and the ADC values of corresponding brain regions, there were no statistically significant changes. Statistically significantly lower FA values ( p < 0.05) were observed in the bilateral dorsal thalamus of the patients in the three subgroups than in the control group. Significantly lowered FA values from the postero-superior aspect of the mid brain ( p < 0.01) were observed in patients with PGTCS compared with the control group. There were no significant changes in the FA values ( p > 0.05) from the bilateral precuneus/posterior cingulate, bilateral medial frontal gyri or bilateral supramarginalgyri in the experimental group. Among the three patient subgroups and the FA values of the corresponding brain regions, there were no statistically significant changes. CONCLUSION:In epileptic patients with CPS, PGTCS or SGTCS, there seems to be a long-lasting neuronal dysfunction of the bilateral dorsal thalamus and postero-superior aspect of the midbrain. The thalamus and upper brain stem are likely to play a key role in epileptic patients with impaired consciousness.
Thalamic Structural Connectivity Abnormalities in Minimal Hepatic Encephalopathy.
Chen Hua-Jun,Zhang Xiao-Hong,Shi Jia-Yan,Jiang Shao-Fan,Sun Yi-Fan,Zhang Ling,Li Dan,Chen Rong
Frontiers in neuroanatomy
Numerous studies have demonstrated thalamus-related structural, functional, and metabolic abnormalities in minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE). We conducted the first study to investigate thalamic structural connectivity alterations in MHE. Methods:Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based probabilistic tractography was employed to determine the structural linkage between the thalamus and cortical/subcortical regions in 52 cirrhotic patients [22 with MHE; 30 without MHE (NHE)] and 30 controls. We measured these thalamic connections, which included connectivity strength (CS), fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD), and then compared these among the three groups. Neurocognitive assessment was also performed. Correlation analysis was conducted to investigate the relationship between neurocognitive performance and the above measurements. Classification analysis was performed to determine whether thalamic connection measurements can distinguish MHE from NHE. Results:The probabilistic tractography revealed thalamic structural connections, which were disrupted in cirrhotic patients (as reflected by a decrease in CS/FA and an increase in MD/AD/RD). Abnormal thalamic connections primarily involved the prefrontal cortex, sensorimotor cortex, parietal cortex, medial temporal cortex and hippocampus, and striatum. Thalamic connectivity abnormalities deteriorated from NHE to MHE, and they were correlated with patients' neurocognitive performance. The moderate classification accuracy was obtained using CS and MD as discriminating indexes. Conclusion:Our results demonstrated the altered thalamic structural connectivity involving both cortical and subcortical regions in MHE, which could be regarded as representative of MHE-related widespread impairments in white matter pathways. The disturbed thalamic connectivity may underlie the mechanism of cognitive deficits in MHE and may potentially be utilized as a biomarker for diagnosing MHE and in monitoring disease progression. In addition to thalamic-cortical/subcortical connections, further studies are recommended to explore the structural alterations in other white matter pathways in MHE.
Thalamic structures and associated cognitive functions: Relations with age and aging.
Fama Rosemary,Sullivan Edith V
Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
The thalamus, with its cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar connections, is a critical node in networks supporting cognitive functions known to decline in normal aging, including component processes of memory and executive functions of attention and information processing. The macrostructure, microstructure, and neural connectivity of the thalamus changes across the adult lifespan. Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have demonstrated, regional thalamic volume shrinkage and microstructural degradation, with anterior regions generally more compromised than posterior regions. The integrity of selective thalamic nuclei and projections decline with advancing age, particularly those in thalamofrontal, thalamoparietal, and thalamolimbic networks. This review presents studies that assess the relations between age and aging and the structure, function, and connectivity of the thalamus and associated neural networks and focuses on their relations with processes of attention, speed of information processing, and working and episodic memory.
Thalamic Involvement in Fluctuating Cognition in Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Magnetic Resonance Evidences.
Delli Pizzi Stefano,Franciotti Raffaella,Taylor John-Paul,Thomas Astrid,Tartaro Armando,Onofrj Marco,Bonanni Laura
Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by fluctuation in cognition and attention. Thalamocortical connectivity and integrity of thalami are central to attentional function. We hypothesize that DLB patients with marked and frequent fluctuating cognition (flCog) have a loss of thalamocortical connectivity, an intrinsic disruption to thalamic structure and imbalances in thalamic neurotransmitter levels. To test this, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and proton MR spectroscopy on thalami were performed on 16 DLB, 16 Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 13 healthy subjects. MRI and DTI were combined to subdivide thalami according to their cortical connectivity and to investigate microstructural changes in connectivity-defined thalamic regions. Compared with controls, lower N-acetyl-aspartate/total creatine (NAA/tCr) and higher total choline/total creatine (tCho/tCr) values were observed within thalami of DLB patients. tCho/tCr increase was found within right thalamus of DLB patients as compared with AD. This increase correlated with severity and frequency of flCog. As compared with controls, DLB patients showed bilateral damage within thalamic regions projecting to prefrontal and parieto-occipital cortices, whereas AD patients showed bilateral alteration within thalamic region projecting to temporal cortex. We posit that microstructural thalamic damage and cholinergic imbalance may be central to the etiology of flCog in DLB.
Thalamic Nuclei and Thalamocortical Pathways After Left Hemispheric Stroke and Their Association with Picture Naming.
Previous studies utilized lesion-centric approaches to study the role of the thalamus in language. In this study, we tested the hypotheses that non-lesioned dorsomedial and ventral anterior nuclei (DMVAC) and pulvinar lateral posterior nuclei complexes (PLC) of the thalamus and their projections to the left hemisphere show secondary effects of the strokes, and that their microstructural integrity is closely related to language-related functions. Subjects with language impairments after a left-hemispheric cortical and/or subcortical, early stroke ( = 31, ≤6 months) or late stroke ( = 30, ≥12 months) sparing thalamus underwent the Boston Naming Test (BNT) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The tissue integrity of DMVAC, PLC, and their cortical projections was quantified with DTI. The right-left asymmetry profiles of these structures were evaluated in relation to the time since stroke. The association between microstructural integrity and BNT score was investigated in relation to stroke chronicity with partial correlation analyses adjusted for confounds. In both early stroke and late stroke groups, left-sided tracts showed significantly higher mean diffusivities (MDs), which were likely due to Wallerian degeneration. Higher MD values of the cortical projections from the left PLC (0.5, = 0.005) and DMVAC (0.53, = 0.002) were correlated with lower BNT score in the late stroke but not early stroke group. Nonlesioned thalamic nuclei and thalamocortical pathways show rightward lateralization of the microstructural integrity after a left hemispheric stroke, and this pattern is associated with poorer naming. Impact statement To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first diffusion tensor imaging study suggesting that the thalamic nuclei and pathways of the left hemisphere spared by direct ischemic insult undergo secondary degeneration over time that is associated with poorer picture naming. Our study may pave the way for targeted interventions such as invasive or noninvasive brain stimulation techniques that engage these spared pathways to prevent secondary degeneration and lead to better outcomes in poststroke aphasia.
Structural and functional connectivity of the precuneus and thalamus to the default mode network.
Cunningham Samantha I,Tomasi Dardo,Volkow Nora D
Human brain mapping
Neuroimaging studies have identified functional interactions between the thalamus, precuneus, and default mode network (DMN) in studies of consciousness. However, less is known about the structural connectivity of the precuneus and thalamus to regions within the DMN. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to parcellate the precuneus and thalamus based on their probabilistic white matter connectivity to each other and DMN regions of interest (ROIs) in 37 healthy subjects from the Human Connectome Database. We further assessed resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) among the precuneus, thalamus, and DMN ROIs. The precuneus was found to have the greatest structural connectivity with the thalamus, where connection fractional anisotropy (FA) increased with age. The precuneus also showed significant structural connectivity to the hippocampus and middle pre-frontal cortex, but minimal connectivity to the angular gyrus and midcingulate cortex. In contrast, the precuneus exhibited significant RSFC with the thalamus and the strongest RSFC with the AG. Significant symmetrical structural connectivity was found between the thalamus and hippocampus, mPFC, sFG, and precuneus that followed known thalamocortical pathways, while thalamic RSFC was strongest with the precuneus and hippocampus. Overall, these findings reveal high levels of structural and functional connectivity linking the thalamus, precuneus, and DMN. Differences between structural and functional connectivity (such as between the precuneus and AG) may be interpreted to reflect dynamic shifts in RSFC for cortical hub-regions involved with consciousness, but could also reflect the limitations of DTI to detect superficial white matter tracts that connect cortico-cortical regions. Hum Brain Mapp 38:938-956, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Regional structural hypo- and hyperconnectivity of frontal-striatal and frontal-thalamic pathways in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.
Jakabek David,Power Brian D,Macfarlane Matthew D,Walterfang Mark,Velakoulis Dennis,van Westen Danielle,Lätt Jimmy,Nilsson Markus,Looi Jeffrey C L,Santillo Alexander F
Human brain mapping
Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) has been predominantly considered as a frontotemporal cortical disease, with limited direct investigation of frontal-subcortical connections. We aim to characterize the grey and white matter components of frontal-thalamic and frontal-striatal circuits in bvFTD. Twenty-four patients with bvFTD and 24 healthy controls underwent morphological and diffusion imaging. Subcortical structures were manually segmented according to published protocols. Probabilistic pathways were reconstructed separately from the dorsolateral, orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortex to the striatum and thalamus. Patients with bvFTD had smaller cortical and subcortical volumes, lower fractional anisotropy, and higher mean diffusivity metrics, which is consistent with disruptions in frontal-striatal-thalamic pathways. Unexpectedly, regional volumes of the striatum and thalamus connected to the medial prefrontal cortex were significantly larger in bvFTD (by 135% in the striatum, p = .032, and 217% in the thalamus, p = .004), despite smaller dorsolateral prefrontal cortex connected regional volumes (by 67% in the striatum, p = .002, and 65% in the thalamus, p = .020), and inconsistent changes in orbitofrontal cortex connected regions. These unanticipated findings may represent compensatory or maladaptive remodeling in bvFTD networks. Comparisons are made to other neuropsychiatric disorders suggesting a common mechanism of changes in frontal-subcortical networks; however, longitudinal studies are necessary to test this hypothesis.
Thalamus segmentation using multi-modal feature classification: Validation and pilot study of an age-matched cohort.
Glaister Jeffrey,Carass Aaron,NessAiver Tziona,Stough Joshua V,Saidha Shiv,Calabresi Peter A,Prince Jerry L
Automatic segmentation of the thalamus can be used to measure differences and track changes in thalamic volume that may occur due to disease, injury or normal aging. An automatic thalamus segmentation algorithm incorporating features from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and thalamus priors constructed from multiple atlases is proposed. Multiple atlases with corresponding manual thalamus segmentations are registered to the target image and averaged to generate the thalamus prior. At each voxel in a region of interest around the thalamus, a multidimensional feature vector that includes the thalamus prior as well as a set of DTI features, including fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, and fiber orientation is formed. A random forest is trained to classify each voxel as belonging to the thalamus or background within the region of interest. Using a leave-one-out cross-validation on nine subjects, the proposed algorithm achieves a mean Dice score of 0.878 and 0.890 for the left and right thalami, respectively, which are higher Dice scores than the three state-of-art methods we compared to. We demonstrate the utility of the method with a pilot study exploring the difference in the thalamus fraction between 21 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 21 age-matched healthy controls. The left and right thalamic volumes (normalized by intracranial volumes) are larger in healthy controls by 7.6% and 7.3% respectively, compared to MS patients (though neither result is statistically significant).
Disease severity is correlated to tract specific changes of fractional anisotropy in MD and CM thalamus--a DTI study in major depressive disorder.
Osoba Annemarie,Hänggi Jürgen,Li Meng,Horn Dorothea I,Metzger Coraline,Eckert Ulf,Kaufmann Jörn,Zierhut Kathrin,Steiner Johann,Schiltz Kolja,Heinze Hans-Jochen,Bogerts Bernhard,Walter Martin
Journal of affective disorders
BACKGROUND:Depression is commonly conceptualized as corticolimbic dysregulation. Due to insufficient studies in normal aged populations especially subcortical sources of disconnection are unclear in contrast to potentially general parietal white matter (WM) deficits. This may be due to important influences of variable patient characteristics, most importantly episode severity. Especially thalamic disconnections have been functionally revealed, however, their structural correlates have not been distinctly investigated for its highly diverse subnuclei. METHODS:We compared 20 major depressive disorder (MDD) patients with mixed Hamilton depression rating scale (HAMD) severity to matched controls in fractional anisotropy (FA) derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Robust acquisition of 4 repetitions restricted to twelve directions, also to match the same parameters used by Eckert et al. (2011) who described a preferential architecture of centromedian (CM) and mediodorsal (MD) thalamic connections. Second to whole brain analysis, we tested for group differences within the preferred structural network of these two nuclei using a tract of interest (TOI) approach. RESULTS:Significant FA deficits in a whole brain analysis were only found in right parietal WM (p<0.05, corrected). Effects of severity were found for increasing thalamic FA. Post hoc analysis revealed this effect to be restricted to CM specific tracts. In contrast, we found MD to dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) tracts to be decreased in FA. Unspecific decreases between MD and CM towards amygdala were paralleled by primary amygdala FA reductions. LIMITATIONS:Specificity of the TOI approach and heterogenous sample. CONCLUSIONS:Robust parietal FA reductions, controlled for age effects were found in MDD. Further we revealed subcortical disease state dependency of FA in thalamic tracts, specific to predescribed preferential connections.
Thalamus parcellation using multi-modal feature classification and thalamic nuclei priors.
Glaister Jeffrey,Carass Aaron,Stough Joshua V,Calabresi Peter A,Prince Jerry L
Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering
Segmentation of the thalamus and thalamic nuclei is useful to quantify volumetric changes from neurodegenerative diseases. Most thalamus segmentation algorithms only use T1-weighted magnetic resonance images and current thalamic parcellation methods require manual interaction. Smaller nuclei, such as the lateral and medial geniculates, are challenging to locate due to their small size. We propose an automated segmentation algorithm using a set of features derived from diffusion tensor image (DTI) and thalamic nuclei location priors. After extracting features, a hierarchical random forest classifier is trained to locate the thalamus. A second random forest classifies thalamus voxels as belonging to one of six thalamic nuclei classes. The proposed algorithm was tested using a leave-one-out cross validation scheme and compared with state-of-the-art algorithms. The proposed algorithm has a higher Dice score compared to other methods for the whole thalamus and several nuclei.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging-Based Thalamic Segmentation in Deep Brain Stimulation for Chronic Pain Conditions.
Kim Won,Chivukula Srinivas,Hauptman Jason,Pouratian Nader
Stereotactic and functional neurosurgery
BACKGROUND/AIMS:Thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of medically refractory pain has largely been abandoned on account of its inconsistent and oftentimes poor efficacy. Our aim here was to use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based segmentation to assess the internal thalamic nuclei of patients who have undergone thalamic DBS for intractable pain and retrospectively correlate lead position with clinical outcome. METHODS:DTI-based segmentation was performed on 5 patients who underwent sensory thalamus DBS for chronic pain. Postoperative computed tomography images obtained for electrode placement were fused with preoperative magnetic resonance images that had undergone DTI-based thalamic segmentation. Sensory thalamus maps of 4 patients were analyzed for lead positioning and interpatient variability. RESULTS:Four patients who experienced significant pain relief following DBS demonstrated contact positions within the DTI-determined sensory thalamus or in its vicinity, whereas 1 patient who did not respond to stimulation did not. Only 4 voxels (2%) within the sensory thalamus were mutually shared among patients; 108 voxels (58%) were uniquely represented. CONCLUSIONS:DTI-based segmentation of the thalamus can be used to confirm thalamic lead placement relative to the sensory thalamus and may serve as a useful tool to guide thalamic DBS electrode implantation in the future.
Recovery of thalamic microstructural damage after Shiga toxin 2-associated hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
Krämer Julia,Deppe Michael,Göbel Kerstin,Tabelow Karsten,Wiendl Heinz,Meuth Sven G
Journal of the neurological sciences
INTRODUCTION:The underlying pathophysiology of neurological complications in patients with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) remains unclear. It was recently attributed to a direct cytotoxic effect of Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) in the thalamus. Conventional MRI of patients with Stx2-caused HUS revealed - despite severe neurological symptoms - only mild alterations if any, mostly in the thalamus. Against this background, we questioned: Does diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) capture the thalamic damage better than conventional MRI? Are neurological symptoms and disease course better reflected by thalamic alterations as detected by DTI? Are other brain regions also affected? METHODS:Three women with serious neurological deficits due to Stx2-associated HUS were admitted to MRI/DTI at disease onset. Two of them were longitudinally examined. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity were computed to assess Stx2-caused microstructural damage. RESULTS:Compared to 90 healthy women, all three patients had significantly reduced thalamic FA. Thalamic mean diffusivity was only reduced in two patients. DTI of the longitudinally examined women demonstrated slow normalization of thalamic FA, which was paralleled by clinical improvement. CONCLUSION:Whereas conventional MRI only shows slight alterations based on subjective evaluation, DTI permits quantitative, objective, and longitudinal assessment of cytotoxic cerebral damage in individual patients.
Thalamic dopamine D2-receptor availability in schizophrenia: a study on antipsychotic-naive patients with first-episode psychosis and a meta-analysis.
Pharmacological and genetic evidence support a role for an involvement of the dopamine D2-receptor (D2-R) in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Previous molecular imaging studies have suggested lower levels of D2-R in thalamus, but results are inconclusive. The objective of the present study was to use improved methodology to compare D2-R density in whole thalamus and thalamic subregions between first-episode psychosis patients and healthy controls. Differences in thalamocortical connectivity was explored based on the D2-R results. 19 antipsychotic-naive first-episode psychosis patients and 19 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were examined using high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and the high-affinity D2-R radioligand [C]FLB457. The main outcome was D2-R binding potential (BP) in thalamus, and it was predicted that patients would have lower binding. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed in a subgroup of 11 patients and 15 controls. D2-R binding in whole thalamus was lower in patients compared with controls (Cohen's dz = -0.479, p = 0.026, Bayes Factor (BF) > 4). Among subregions, lower BP was observed in the ROI representing thalamic connectivity to the frontal cortex (Cohen's dz = -0.527, p = 0.017, BF > 6). A meta-analysis, including the sample of this study, confirmed significantly lower thalamic D2-R availability in patients. Exploratory analyses suggested that patients had lower fractional anisotropy values compared with controls (Cohen's d = -0.692, p = 0.036) in the inferior thalamic radiation. The findings support the hypothesis of a dysregulation of thalamic dopaminergic neurotransmission in schizophrenia, and it is hypothesized that this could underlie a disturbance of thalamocortical connectivity.
Automatic thalamus and hippocampus segmentation from MP2RAGE: comparison of publicly available methods and implications for DTI quantification.
Næss-Schmidt Erhard,Tietze Anna,Blicher Jakob Udby,Petersen Mikkel,Mikkelsen Irene K,Coupé Pierrick,Manjón José V,Eskildsen Simon Fristed
International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery
PURPOSE:In both structural and functional MRI, there is a need for accurate and reliable automatic segmentation of brain regions. Inconsistent segmentation reduces sensitivity and may bias results in clinical studies. The current study compares the performance of publicly available segmentation tools and their impact on diffusion quantification, emphasizing the importance of using recently developed segmentation algorithms and imaging techniques. METHODS:Four publicly available, automatic segmentation methods (volBrain, FSL, FreeSurfer and SPM) are compared to manual segmentation of the thalamus and hippocampus imaged with a recently proposed T1-weighted MRI sequence (MP2RAGE). We evaluate morphometric accuracy on 22 healthy subjects and impact on diffusivity measurements obtained from aligned diffusion-weighted images on a subset of 10 subjects. RESULTS:Compared to manual segmentation, the highest Dice similarity index of the thalamus is obtained with volBrain using a local library ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]) followed by volBrain using an external library ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]), FSL ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]), FreeSurfer ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]) and SPM ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]). The same order is found for hippocampus with volBrain local ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]), volBrain external ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]), FSL ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]), FreeSurfer ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]) and SPM ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]). For diffusivity measurements, volBrain provides values closest to those obtained from manual segmentations. volBrain is the only method where FA values do not differ significantly from manual segmentation of the thalamus. CONCLUSIONS:Overall we find that volBrain is superior in thalamus and hippocampus segmentation compared to FSL, FreeSurfer and SPM. Furthermore, the choice of segmentation technique and training library affects quantitative results from diffusivity measures in thalamus and hippocampus.
Validation of connectivity-based thalamic segmentation with direct electrophysiologic recordings from human sensory thalamus.
Elias W Jeffrey,Zheng Zhong A,Domer Paul,Quigg Mark,Pouratian Nader
Connectivity-based segmentation has been used to identify functional gray matter subregions that are not discernable on conventional magnetic resonance imaging. However, the accuracy and reliability of this technique has only been validated using indirect means. In order to provide direct electrophysiologic validation of connectivity-based thalamic segmentations within human subjects, we assess the correlation of atlas-based thalamic anatomy, connectivity-based thalamic maps, and somatosensory evoked thalamic potentials in two adults with medication-refractory epilepsy who were undergoing intracranial EEG monitoring with intrathalamic depth and subdural cortical strip electrodes. MRI with atlas-derived localization was used to delineate the anatomic boundaries of the ventral posterolateral (VPL) nucleus of the thalamus. Somatosensory evoked potentials with intrathalamic electrodes physiologically identified a discrete region of phase reversal in the ventrolateral thalamus. Finally, DTI was obtained so that probabilistic tractography and connectivity-based segmentation could be performed to correlate the region of thalamus linked to sensory areas of the cortex, namely the postcentral gyrus. We independently utilized these three different methods in a blinded fashion to localize the "sensory" thalamus, demonstrating a high-degree of reproducible correlation between electrophysiologic and connectivity-based maps of the thalamus. This study provides direct electrophysiologic validation of probabilistic tractography-based thalamic segmentation. Importantly, this study provides an electrophysiological basis for using connectivity-based segmentation to further study subcortical anatomy and physiology while also providing the clinical basis for targeting deep brain nuclei with therapeutic stimulation. Finally, these direct recordings from human thalamus confirm early inferences of a sensory thalamic component of the N18 waveform in somatosensory evoked potentials.
A systematic comparison of structural-, structural connectivity-, and functional connectivity-based thalamus parcellation techniques.
Iglehart Charles,Monti Martin,Cain Joshua,Tourdias Thomas,Saranathan Manojkumar
Brain structure & function
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.
Connectivity-based parcellation of the thalamus explains specific cognitive and behavioural symptoms in patients with bilateral thalamic infarct.
Serra Laura,Cercignani Mara,Carlesimo Giovanni A,Fadda Lucia,Tini Nadia,Giulietti Giovanni,Caltagirone Carlo,Bozzali Marco
A novel approach based on diffusion tractography was used here to characterise the cortico-thalamic connectivity in two patients, both presenting with an isolated bilateral infarct in the thalamus, but exhibiting partially different cognitive and behavioural profiles. Both patients (G.P. and R.F.) had a pervasive deficit in episodic memory, but only one of them (R.F.) suffered also from a dysexecutive syndrome. Both patients had an MRI scan at 3T, including a T1-weighted volume. Their lesions were manually segmented. T1-volumes were normalised to standard space, and the same transformations were applied to the lesion masks. Nineteen healthy controls underwent a diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) scan. Their DTI data were normalised to standard space and averaged. An atlas of Brodmann areas was used to parcellate the prefrontal cortex. Probabilistic tractography was used to assess the probability of connection between each voxel of the thalamus and a set of prefrontal areas. The resulting map of corticothalamic connections was superimposed onto the patients' lesion masks, to assess whether the location of the thalamic lesions in R.F. (but not in G. P.) implied connections with prefrontal areas involved in dysexecutive syndromes. In G.P., the lesion fell within areas of the thalamus poorly connected with prefrontal areas, showing only a modest probability of connection with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Conversely, R.F.'s lesion fell within thalamic areas extensively connected with the ACC bilaterally, with the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and with the left supplementary motor area. Despite a similar, bilateral involvement of the thalamus, the use of connectivity-based segmentation clarified that R.F.'s lesions only were located within nuclei highly connected with the prefrontal cortical areas, thus explaining the patient's frontal syndrome. This study confirms that DTI tractography is a useful tool to examine in vivo the effect of focal lesions on interconnectivity brain patterns.
Analysis of correlation between white matter changes and functional responses in thalamic stroke: a DTI & EEG study.
Duru Adil Deniz,Duru Dilek Göksel,Yumerhodzha Sami,Bebek Nerses
Brain imaging and behavior
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows in vivo structural brain mapping and detection of microstructural disruption of white matter (WM). One of the commonly used parameters for grading the anisotropic diffusivity in WM is fractional anisotropy (FA). FA value helps to quantify the directionality of the local tract bundle. Therefore, FA images are being used in voxelwise statistical analyses (VSA). The present study used Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) of FA images across subjects, and computes the mean skeleton map to detect voxelwise knowledge of the tracts yielding to groupwise comparison. The skeleton image illustrates WM structure and shows any changes caused by brain damage. The microstructure of WM in thalamic stroke is investigated, and the VSA results of healthy control and thalamic stroke patients are reported. It has been shown that several skeleton regions were affected subject to the presence of thalamic stroke (FWE, p < 0.05). Furthermore the correlation of quantitative EEG (qEEG) scores and neurophysiological tests with the FA skeleton for the entire test group is also investigated. We compared measurements that are related to the same fibers across subjects, and discussed implications for VSA of WM in thalamic stroke cases, for the relationship between behavioral tests and FA skeletons, and for the correlation between the FA maps and qEEG scores.Results obtained through the regression analyses did not exceed the corrected statistical threshold values for multiple comparisons (uncorrected, p < 0.05). However, in the regression analysis of FA values and the theta band activity of EEG, cingulum bundle and corpus callosum were found to be related. These areas are parts of the Default Mode Network (DMN) where DMN is known to be involved in resting state EEG theta activity. The relation between the EEG alpha band power values and FA values of the skeleton was found to support the cortico-thalamocortical cycles for both subject groups. Further, the neurophysiological tests including Benton Face Recognition (BFR), Digit Span test (DST), Warrington Topographic Memory test (WTMT), California Verbal Learning test (CVLT) has been regressed with the FA skeleton maps for both subject groups. Our results corresponding to DST task were found to be similar with previously reported findings for working memory and episodic memory tasks. For the WTMT, FA values of the cingulum (right) that plays a role in memory process was found to be related with the behavioral responses. Splenium of corpus callosum was found to be correlated for both subject groups for the BFR.
Structural and functional dysconnectivity of the fronto-thalamic system in schizophrenia: a DCM-DTI study.
Wagner Gerd,De la Cruz Feliberto,Schachtzabel Claudia,Güllmar Daniel,Schultz C Christoph,Schlösser Ralf G,Bär Karl-Jürgen,Koch Kathrin
Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
Evidence suggests that cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia. The concept of "cognitive dysmetria" has been introduced to characterize disintegration of fronto-thalamic-cerebellar circuitry which constitutes a key network for a variety of neuropsychological symptoms in schizophrenia. The present multimodal study aimed at investigating effective and structural connectivity of the fronto-thalamic circuitry in schizophrenia. fMRI effective connectivity analysis using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were combined to examine cognitive control processes in 38 patients with schizophrenia and 40 matched healthy controls. Significantly lower fractional anisotropy (FA) was detected in patients in the right anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC), the right thalamus and the right corpus callosum. During Stroop task performance patients demonstrated significantly lower activation relative to healthy controls in a predominantly right lateralized fronto-thalamo-cerebellar network. An abnormal effective connectivity was observed in the right connections between thalamus, anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. FA in the ALIC was significantly correlated with the thalamic BOLD signal, cognitive performance and fronto-thalamic effective connectivity in patients. Present data provide evidence for the notion of a structural and functional defect in the fronto-thalamo-cerebellar circuitry, which may be the basis of specific cognitive impairments in schizophrenia.
Automated Segmentation of Head Computed Tomography Images Using FSL.
Cauley Keith A,Och Joe,Yorks Patrick J,Fielden Samuel W
Journal of computer assisted tomography
OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to investigate the use of one magnetic resonance image-processing tool, FSL, in its ability to perform automated segmentation of computed tomographic images of the brain. METHODS:Head computed tomography (CT) images were brain extracted and segmented using the FSL tools BET and FAST, respectively. The products of segmentation were analyzed by histogram. The impact of image intensity inhomogeneity correction was investigated using simulated bias fields, 14 routine head CT scans, and selected illustrative clinical cases. RESULTS:FSL FAST performs direct segmentation of head CT images, permitting quantitation of gray and white matter densities and volumes, achieving a more complete segmentation than masking methods. "Bias field correction" reduced the covariance of image signal intensities of the total brain and gray matter images (P < 0.01). Correction is larger when the effects of beam hardening and radiation scatter are larger, resulting in improved segmentation. CONCLUSIONS:FSL FAST enables direct segmentation of head CT images.
MRI-based thalamic volumetry in multiple sclerosis using FSL-FIRST: Systematic assessment of common error modes.
Lyman Cassondra,Lee Dongchan,Ferrari Hannah,Fuchs Tom A,Bergsland Niels,Jakimovski Dejan,Weinstock-Guttmann Bianca,Zivadinov Robert,Dwyer Michael G
Journal of neuroimaging : official journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:FSL's FMRIB's Integrated Registration and Segmentation Tool (FSL-FIRST) is a widely used and well-validated tool. Automated thalamic segmentation is a common application and an important longitudinal measure for multiple sclerosis (MS). However, FSL-FIRST's algorithm is based on shape models derived from non-MS groups. As such, the present study sought to systematically assess common thalamic segmentation errors made by FSL-FIRST on MRIs from people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). METHODS:FSL-FIRST was applied to generate thalamic segmentation masks for 890 MR images in PwMS. Images and masks were reviewed systematically to classify and quantify errors, as well as associated anatomical variations and MRI abnormalities. For cases with overt errors (n = 362), thalamic masks were corrected and quantitative volumetric differences were calculated. RESULTS:In the entire quantitative volumetric group, the mean volumetric error of FSL-FIRST was 2.74% (0.360 ml): among only corrected cases, the mean volumetric error was 6.79% (0.894 ml). The average percent volumetric error associated with seven error types, two anatomical variants, and motions artifacts are reported. Additional analyses showed that the presence of motion artifacts or anatomical variations significantly increased the probability of error (χ = 18.14, p < .01 and χ = 64.89, p < .001, respectively). Finally, thalamus volume error was negatively associated with degree of atrophy, such that smaller thalami were systematically overestimated (r = -.28, p < .001). CONCLUSIONS:In PwMS, FSL-FIRST thalamic segmentation miscalculates thalamic volumetry in a predictable fashion, and may be biased to overestimate highly atrophic thalami. As such, it is recommended that segmentations be reviewed and corrected manually when appropriate for specific studies.
Ranking brain areas encoding the perceived level of pain from fMRI data.
Favilla Stefania,Huber Alexa,Pagnoni Giuseppe,Lui Fausta,Facchin Patrizia,Cocchi Marina,Baraldi Patrizia,Porro Carlo Adolfo
Pain perception is thought to emerge from the integrated activity of a distributed brain system, but the relative contribution of the different network nodes is still incompletely understood. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we aimed to identify the more relevant brain regions to explain the time profile of the perceived pain intensity in healthy volunteers, during noxious chemical stimulation (ascorbic acid injection) of the left hand. To this end, we performed multi-way partial least squares regression of fMRI data from twenty-two a-priori defined brain regions of interest (ROI) in each hemisphere, to build a model that could efficiently reproduce the psychophysical pain profiles in the same individuals; moreover, we applied a novel three-way extension of the variable importance in projection (VIP) method to summarize each ROI contribution to the model. Brain regions showing the highest VIP scores included the bilateral mid-cingulate, anterior and posterior insular, and parietal operculum cortices, the contralateral paracentral lobule, bilateral putamen and ipsilateral medial thalamus. Most of these regions, with the exception of medial thalamus, were also identified by a statistical analysis on mean ROI beta values estimated using the time course of the psychophysical rating as a regressor at the voxel level. Our results provide the first rank-ordering of brain regions involved in coding the perceived level of pain. These findings in a model of acute prolonged pain confirm and extend previous data, suggesting that a bilateral array of cortical areas and subcortical structures is involved in pain perception.
Cortical pain processing in migraine.
Coppola Gianluca,Parisi Vincenzo,Di Renzo Antonio,Pierelli Francesco
Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996)
Among painful disorders, migraine is distinguishable by its chronic pathology and episodic clinical manifestation. Only a small percentage of patients with migraine progress to a chronic form of migraine. Both peripheral and central portions of the trigeminal system are involved in the pathophysiology of migraine pain, as they are involved in the processes of peripheral and central sensitization, alongside various subcortical and cortical brain structures. This review focuses on clinical, neurophysiological, and neuroimaging data underscoring cortical pain processing in migraine. Data obtained from quantitative sensory testings are inconclusive and support the involvement of the peripheral portion of the trigeminovascular system as indirect evidence of peripheral sensitization, solely during the headache phase. The assessment of subjective pain intensity in response to several painful modalities has not been conclusive for the clear state of central sensitization in between migraine attacks but for the subclinical allodynia state that defines the boundary between behavioural responses and an irritable nervous state. Modulation of the brainstem and midbrain pain pathways, in conjunction with the thalamic and thalamocortical pathways, may be critical for the initiation and maintenance of migraine attacks. Several studies using different neuroimaging techniques have demonstrated that brains experiencing migraine undergo plastic changes in both microstructure and macrostructure and in the functioning of cortical networks, which may manifest early in the life of a patient with migraine. Further studies are required to understand how specific these results are to migraine relative to other painful disorders.
Functional brain imaging: what has it brought to our understanding of neuropathic pain? A special focus on allodynic pain mechanisms.
Brain responses to nociception are well identified. The same is not true for allodynic pain, a strong painful sensation in response to touch or innocuous cold stimuli that may be experienced by patients with neuropathic pain. Brain (or spinal cord) reorganization that may explain this paradoxical perception still remains largely unknown. Allodynic pain is associated with abnormally increased activity in SII and in the anterior insular cortex, contralateral and/or ipsilateral to allodynia. Because a bilateral increase in activity has been repeatedly reported in these areas in nociceptive conditions, the observed activation during allodynia can explain that a physiologically nonpainful stimulus could be perceived by the damaged nervous system as a painful one. Both secondary somatosensory and insular cortices receive input from the thalamus, which is a major relay of sensory and spinothalamic pathways, the involvement of which is known to be crucial for the development of neuropathic pain. Both thalamic function and structure have been reported to be abnormal or impaired in neuropathic pain conditions including in the basal state, possibly explaining the spontaneous component of neuropathic pain. A further indication as to how the brain can create neuropathic pain response in SII and insular cortices stems from examples of diseases, including single-case reports in whom a focal brain lesion leads to central pain disappearance. Additional studies are required to certify the contribution of these areas to the disease processes, to disentangle abnormalities respectively related to pain and to deafferentation, and, in the future, to guide targeting of stimulation studies.
The enigma of site of action of migraine preventives: no effect of metoprolol on trigeminal pain processing in patients and healthy controls.
Hebestreit Julia M,May Arne
The journal of headache and pain
BACKGROUND:Beta-blockers are a first choice migraine preventive medication. So far it is unknown how they exert their therapeutic effect in migraine. To this end we examined the neural effect of metoprolol on trigeminal pain processing in 19 migraine patients and 26 healthy controls. All participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during trigeminal pain twice: Healthy subjects took part in a placebo-controlled, randomized and double-blind study, receiving a single dose of metoprolol and placebo. Patients were examined with a baseline scan before starting the preventive medication and 3 months later whilst treated with metoprolol. RESULTS:Mean pain intensity ratings were not significantly altered under metoprolol. Functional imaging revealed no significant differences in nociceptive processing in both groups. Contrary to earlier findings from animal studies, we did not find an effect of metoprolol on the thalamus in either group. However, using a more liberal and exploratory threshold, hypothalamic activity was slightly increased under metoprolol in patients and migraineurs. CONCLUSIONS:No significant effect of metoprolol on trigeminal pain processing was observed, suggesting a peripheral effect of metoprolol. Exploratory analyses revealed slightly enhanced hypothalamic activity under metoprolol in both groups. Given the emerging role of the hypothalamus in migraine attack generation, these data need further examination.
Thalamocortical Mechanisms for Nostalgia-Induced Analgesia.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
As a predominately positive emotion, nostalgia serves various adaptive functions, including a recently revealed analgesic effect. The current fMRI study aimed to explore the neural mechanisms underlying the nostalgia-induced analgesic effect on noxious thermal stimuli of different intensities. Human participants' (males and females) behavior results showed that the nostalgia paradigm significantly reduced participants' perception of pain, particularly at low pain intensities. fMRI analysis revealed that analgesia was related to decreased brain activity in pain-related brain regions, including the lingual and parahippocampal gyrus. Notably, anterior thalamic activation during the nostalgia stage predicted posterior parietal thalamus activation during the pain stage, suggesting that the thalamus might play a key role as a central functional linkage in the analgesic effect. Moreover, while thalamus-PAG functional connectivity was found to be related to nostalgic strength, periaqueductal gray-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PAG-dlPFC) functional connectivity was found to be associated with pain perception, suggesting possible analgesic modulatory pathways. These findings demonstrate the analgesic effect of nostalgia and, more importantly, shed light on its neural mechanism. Nostalgia is known to reduce individuals' perception of physical pain. The underlying brain mechanisms, however, are unclear. Our study found that the thalamus plays a key role as a functional linkage between nostalgia and pain, suggesting a possible analgesic modulatory mechanism of nostalgia. These findings have implications for the underlying brain mechanisms of psychological analgesia.
Functional dynamics of thalamic local field potentials correlate with modulation of neuropathic pain.
Luo Huichun,Huang Yongzhi,Xiao Xiao,Dai Wenjing,Nie Yingnan,Geng Xinyi,Green Alexander L,Aziz Tipu Z,Wang Shouyan
The European journal of neuroscience
Understanding the functional dynamics of neural oscillations in the sensory thalamus is essential for elucidating the perception and modulation of neuropathic pain. Local field potentials were recorded from the sensory thalamus of twelve neuropathic pain patients. Single and combinational neural states were defined by the activity state of a single or paired oscillations. Relationships between the duration or occurrence rate of neural state and pre-operative pain level or pain relief induced by deep brain stimulation were evaluated. Results showed that the occurrence rate of the single neural state of low-beta oscillation was significantly correlated with pain relief. The duration and occurrence rate of combinational neural states of the paired low-beta with delta, theta, alpha, high-beta or low-gamma oscillations were more significantly correlated with pain relief than the single neural states. Moreover, these significant combinational neural states formed a local oscillatory network with low-beta oscillation as a key node. The results also showed correlations between measures of combinational neural states and subjective pain level as well. The duration of combinational neural states of paired alpha with delta or theta oscillations and the occurrence rate of neural states of the paired delta with low-beta or low-gamma oscillations were significantly correlated with pre-operative pain level. In conclusion, this study revealed that the integration of oscillations and the functional dynamics of neural states were differentially involved in modulation and perception of neuropathic pain. The functional dynamics could be biomarkers for developing neural state-dependent deep brain stimulation for neuropathic pain.
Thalamic anterior part of the ventral posterolateral nucleus and central lateral nucleus in the genesis of central post-stroke pain.
Hirato Masafumi,Miyagishima Takaaki,Takahashi Akio,Yoshimoto Yuhei
BACKGROUND:The genesis of central post-stroke pain (CPSP) is important but difficult to understand. We evaluated the involvement of the thalamic anterior part of the ventral posterolateral nucleus (VPLa) and central lateral nucleus (CL) in the occurrence of CPSP. METHOD:Stereotactic thalamotomy was performed on the posterior part of the ventral lateral nucleus (VLp)-VPLa and CL in 9 patients with CPSP caused by deep-seated intracerebral hemorrhage. Computed tomography (CT) did not reveal definite thalamic lesion in 5 patients but did in 4 patients. Electrophysiological studies of these thalamic nuclei were carried out during the surgery. Anatomical studies using CT were performed in another 20 patients with thalamic hemorrhage who had clear consciousness but had sensory disturbance at onset. RESULTS:Neural activities were preserved and hyperactive and unstable discharges (HUDs) were often recognized along the trajectory in the thalamic VLp-VPLa in 5 patients without thalamic lesion. Surgical modification of this area ameliorated pain, particularly movement-related pain. Neural activities were hypoactive in the other 4 patients with thalamic lesion. However, neural activities were preserved and HUDs were sometimes recognized in the CL. Sensory responses were seen, but at low rate, in the sensory thalamus. Anatomical study showed that the thalamic lesion was obviously smaller in the patients with developing pain in the chronic stage. CONCLUSIONS:Change in neural activities around the cerebrovascular disease lesion in the thalamic VPLa or CL might affect the perception of sensory impulses or sensory processing in those thalamic nuclei, resulting in the genesis of CPSP.
Neural mechanisms of pain processing differ between endurance athletes and nonathletes: A functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging study.
Geisler Maria,Ritter Alexander,Herbsleb Marco,Bär Karl-Jürgen,Weiss Thomas
Human brain mapping
Pain perception and the ability to modulate arising pain vary tremendously between individuals. It has been shown that endurance athletes possess higher pain tolerance thresholds and a greater effect of conditioned pain modulation than nonathletes, both indicating a more efficient system of endogenous pain inhibition. The aim of the present study was to focus on the neural mechanisms of pain processing in endurance athletes that have not been investigated yet. Therefore, we analyzed the pain processing of 18 male athletes and 19 healthy male nonathletes using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We found lower pain ratings in endurance athletes compared to nonathletes to physically identical painful stimulation. Furthermore, brain activations of athletes versus nonathletes during painful heat stimulation revealed reduced activation in several brain regions that are typically activated by nociceptive stimulation. This included the thalamus, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, midcingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and brain stem (BS). Functional connectivity analyses revealed stronger network during painful heat stimulation in athletes between the analyzed brain regions except for connections with the BS that showed reduced functional connectivity in athletes. Post hoc correlation analyses revealed associations of the subject's fitness level and the brain activation strengths, subject's fitness level and functional connectivity, and brain activation strengths and functional connectivity. Together, our results demonstrate for the first time that endurance athletes do not only differ in behavioral variables compared to nonathletes, but also in the neural processing of pain elicited by noxious heat.
The Medial Thalamus Plays an Important Role in the Cognitive and Emotional Modulation of Orofacial Pain: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Based Study.
Jin Yu,Yang Hong,Zhang Feifei,Wang Jue,Liu He,Yang Xin,Long Hu,Li Fei,Gong Qiyong,Lai Wenli
Frontiers in neurology
The thalamus plays a critical role in the perception of orofacial pain. We investigated the neural mechanisms of orofacial pain by exploring the intrinsic functional alterations of the thalamus and assessing the changes in functional connectivity (FC) between the thalamic subregions with significant functional alterations and other brain regions in orofacial pain using the seed-based FC approach. There were 49 participants in the orofacial pain group and 49 controls. Orofacial pain was caused by orthodontic separators. The resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data of the two groups were analyzed to obtain the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) of the thalamus; the thalamic subregions with significant fALFF abnormalities were used as seeds for FC analysis. Student's -tests were used for comparisons. Pearson's correlation analysis was performed using SPM software. Forty-four participants with orofacial pain (mean age, 21.0 ± 0.9 years; 24 women) and 49 age- and sex-matched controls (mean age, 21.0 ± 2.6 years; 27 women) were finally included. Compared with the control group, the orofacial pain group demonstrated the following: (1) increased function in the dorsal area of the thalamus and decreased function in the medial thalamus; (2) decreased FC between the medial thalamus and 12 brain regions ( < 0.05, family-wise error corrected, voxel > 100); and (3) potential positive and negative correlations between the medial thalamus-seeded FC and visual analog scale score changes ( < 0.05, AlphaSim corrected). The findings show that the medial and dorsal thalami play important roles in orofacial pain perception, and that the medial thalamus likely plays an important role in the cognitive and emotional modulation of orofacial pain.
Current understanding of thalamic structure and function in migraine.
Younis Samaira,Hougaard Anders,Noseda Rodrigo,Ashina Messoud
Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache
OBJECTIVE:To review and discuss the literature on the role of thalamic structure and function in migraine. DISCUSSION:The thalamus holds an important position in our understanding of allodynia, central sensitization and photophobia in migraine. Structural and functional findings suggest abnormal functional connectivity between the thalamus and various cortical regions pointing towards an altered pain processing in migraine. Pharmacological nociceptive modulation suggests that the thalamus is a potential drug target. CONCLUSION:A critical role for the thalamus in migraine-related allodynia and photophobia is well established. Additionally, the thalamus is most likely involved in the dysfunctional pain modulation and processing in migraine, but further research is needed to clarify the exact clinical implications of these findings.
Manual and automated tissue segmentation confirm the impact of thalamus atrophy on cognition in multiple sclerosis: A multicenter study.
Burggraaff Jessica,Liu Yao,Prieto Juan C,Simoes Jorge,de Sitter Alexandra,Ruggieri Serena,Brouwer Iman,Lissenberg-Witte Birgit I,Rocca Mara A,Valsasina Paola,Ropele Stefan,Gasperini Claudio,Gallo Antonio,Pareto Deborah,Sastre-Garriga Jaume,Enzinger Christian,Filippi Massimo,De Stefano Nicola,Ciccarelli Olga,Hulst Hanneke E,Wattjes Mike P,Barkhof Frederik,Uitdehaag Bernard M J,Vrenken Hugo,Guttmann Charles R G,
BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE:Thalamus atrophy has been linked to cognitive decline in multiple sclerosis (MS) using various segmentation methods. We investigated the consistency of the association between thalamus volume and cognition in MS for two common automated segmentation approaches, as well as fully manual outlining. METHODS:Standardized neuropsychological assessment and 3-Tesla 3D-T1-weighted brain MRI were collected (multi-center) from 57 MS patients and 17 healthy controls. Thalamus segmentations were generated manually and using five automated methods. Agreement between the algorithms and manual outlines was assessed with Bland-Altman plots; linear regression assessed the presence of proportional bias. The effect of segmentation method on the separation of cognitively impaired (CI) and preserved (CP) patients was investigated through Generalized Estimating Equations; associations with cognitive measures were investigated using linear mixed models, for each method and vendor. RESULTS:In smaller thalami, automated methods systematically overestimated volumes compared to manual segmentations [ρ=(-0.42)-(-0.76); p-values < 0.001). All methods significantly distinguished CI from CP MS patients, except manual outlines of the left thalamus (p = 0.23). Poorer global neuropsychological test performance was significantly associated with smaller thalamus volumes bilaterally using all methods. Vendor significantly affected the findings. CONCLUSION:Automated and manual thalamus segmentation consistently demonstrated an association between thalamus atrophy and cognitive impairment in MS. However, a proportional bias in smaller thalami and choice of MRI acquisition system might impact the effect size of these findings.
Probabilistic mapping of thalamic nuclei and thalamocortical functional connectivity in idiopathic generalised epilepsy.
Chen Yachin,Fallon Nicholas,Kreilkamp Barbara A K,Denby Christine,Bracewell Martyn,Das Kumar,Pegg Emily,Mohanraj Rajiv,Marson Anthony G,Keller Simon S
Human brain mapping
It is well established that abnormal thalamocortical systems play an important role in the generation and maintenance of primary generalised seizures. However, it is currently unknown which thalamic nuclei and how nuclear-specific thalamocortical functional connectivity are differentially impacted in patients with medically refractory and non-refractory idiopathic generalised epilepsy (IGE). In the present study, we performed structural and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with refractory and non-refractory IGE, segmented the thalamus into constituent nuclear regions using a probabilistic MRI segmentation method and determined thalamocortical functional connectivity using seed-to-voxel connectivity analyses. We report significant volume reduction of the left and right anterior thalamic nuclei only in patients with refractory IGE. Compared to healthy controls, patients with refractory and non-refractory IGE had significant alterations of functional connectivity between the centromedian nucleus and cortex, but only patients with refractory IGE had altered cortical connectivity with the ventral lateral nuclear group. Patients with refractory IGE had significantly increased functional connectivity between the left and right ventral lateral posterior nuclei and cortical regions compared to patients with non-refractory IGE. Cortical effects were predominantly located in the frontal lobe. Atrophy of the anterior thalamic nuclei and resting-state functional hyperconnectivity between ventral lateral nuclei and cerebral cortex may be imaging markers of pharmacoresistance in patients with IGE. These structural and functional abnormalities fit well with the known importance of thalamocortical systems in the generation and maintenance of primary generalised seizures, and the increasing recognition of the importance of limbic pathways in IGE.
Temporal-thalamic and cingulo-opercular connectivity in people with schizophrenia.
Culbreth Adam J,Wu Qiong,Chen Shuo,Adhikari Bhim M,Hong L Elliot,Gold James M,Waltz James A
A growing body of research has suggested that people with schizophrenia (SZ) exhibit altered patterns of functional and anatomical brain connectivity. For example, many previous resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) studies have shown that, compared to healthy controls (HC), people with SZ demonstrate hyperconnectivity between subregions of the thalamus and sensory cortices, as well as hypoconnectivity between subregions of the thalamus and prefrontal cortex. In addition to thalamic findings, hypoconnectivity between cingulo-opercular brain regions thought to be involved in salience detection has also been commonly reported in people with SZ. However, previous studies have largely relied on seed-based analyses. Seed-based approaches require researchers to define a single a priori brain region, which is then used to create a rsFC map across the entire brain. While useful for testing specific hypotheses, these analyses are limited in that only a subset of connections across the brain are explored. In the current manuscript, we leverage novel network statistical techniques in order to detect latent functional connectivity networks with organized topology that successfully differentiate people with SZ from HCs. Importantly, these techniques do not require a priori seed selection and allow for whole brain investigation, representing a comprehensive, data-driven approach to determining differential connectivity between diagnostic groups. Across two samples, (Sample 1: 35 SZ, 44 HC; Sample 2: 65 SZ, 79 HC), we found evidence for differential rsFC within a network including temporal and thalamic regions. Connectivity in this network was greater for people with SZ compared to HCs. In the second sample, we also found evidence for hypoconnectivity within a cingulo-opercular network of brain regions in people with SZ compared to HCs. In summary, our results replicate and extend previous studies suggesting hyperconnectivity between the thalamus and sensory cortices and hypoconnectivity between cingulo-opercular regions in people with SZ using data-driven statistical and graph theoretical techniques.
Attention and processing speed performance in multiple sclerosis is mostly related to thalamic volume.
Bisecco Alvino,Stamenova Svetlana,Caiazzo Giuseppina,d'Ambrosio Alessandro,Sacco Rosaria,Docimo Renato,Esposito Sabrina,Cirillo Mario,Esposito Fabrizio,Bonavita Simona,Tedeschi Gioacchino,Gallo Antonio
Brain imaging and behavior
Cognitive impairment (CI), mainly involving attention and processing speed (A-PS), is a common and disabling symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS). Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) is one of the more sensitive and reliable tests to assess A-PS deficits in MS. Structural MRI correlates of A-PS in MS still need to be clarified. This study aimed to investigate, in a large group of MS patients, the relationship between regional gray matter (GM) atrophy and SDMT performance. 125 relapsing remitting MS patients and 52 healthy controls (HC) underwent a 3 T-MRI protocol including high-resolution 3D-T1 imaging. All subjects underwent a neurological evaluation and SDMT. A Voxel Based Morphometry analysis was performed to assess: 1) correlations between regional GM volume and SDMT performance in MS patients; 2) regional differences in GM volume between MS patients and HC. Thalamic, putamen and cerebellar volumes were also calculated using FIRST tool from the FMRIB Software Library. A linear regression analysis was performed to assess the contribution of each one of these structures to A-PS performance. A significant negative correlation was found between regional GM volume and SDMT score at the level of the thalamus, cerebellum, putamen, and occipital cortex in MS patients. Thalamus, cerebellum and putamen also showed significant GM atrophy in MS patients compared to HC. Thalamic atrophy is also an independent and additional contributor to A-PS deficits in MS patients. These findings support the role of thalamus as the most relevant GM structure subtending A-PS performance in MS, as measured by SDMT.
Divergent time-varying connectivity of thalamic sub-regions characterizes clinical phenotypes and cognitive status in multiple sclerosis.
We aimed to investigate abnormal time-varying functional connectivity (FC) for thalamic sub-regions in multiple sclerosis (MS) and their clinical, cognitive and MRI correlates. Eighty-nine MS patients (49 relapsing-remitting [RR] MS; 40 progressive [P] MS) and 53 matched healthy controls underwent neurological, neuropsychological and resting state fMRI assessment. Time-varying connectivity (TVC) was quantified using sliding-window seed-voxel correlation analysis. Standard deviation of FC across windows was taken as measure of TVC, while mean connectivity across windows expressed static FC. MS patients showed reduced TVC vs controls between most of thalamic sub-regions and fronto-temporo-occipital regions. At the same time, they showed increased static FC between all thalamic sub-regions and structurally connected cortico-subcortical regions. TVC reduction was mainly driven by RRMS; while PMS exhibited a variable pattern of TVC abnormalities, characterized by reduced TVC between frontal/motor thalamic seeds and default-mode network areas and increased TVC vs controls/RRMS between posterior thalamic sub-regions and occipito-temporo-insular cortices, associated with severity of clinical disability. Compared with controls, both cognitively preserved and impaired patients showed reduced TVC between anterior thalamic sub-regions and frontal cortex. Cognitively impaired patients also showed increased TVC of the right postcentral thalamic sub-region with the cingulate cortex and postcentral gyrus vs both controls and cognitively preserved patients. Divergent patterns of TVC thalamic abnormalities were found between RRMS and PMS patients. TVC reduction in RRMS may represent the attempt of thalamic network to keep with stable connections. Conversely, increased TVC of posterior thalamic sub-regions characterized PMS and cognitively impaired MS, possibly reflecting maladaptive mechanisms.
Cortico-thalamic dysconnection in early-stage schizophrenia: a functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging study.
Chen Mu-Hong,Chang Wan-Chen,Bai Ya-Mei,Huang Kai-Lin,Tu Pei-Chi,Su Tung-Ping,Li Cheng-Ta,Lin Wei-Chen,Tsai Shih-Jen,Hsu Ju-Wei
European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
Studies have indicated thalamus-related network dysfunction in schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. However, whether thalamus-related functional connectivity (FC) contributes to the psychopathology and cognitive deficits of early-stage schizophrenia requires further investigation. A total of 34 patients with early-stage schizophrenia (illness duration = 1.62 ± 1.16 years; age = 26.00 ± 6.34 years) and 34 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in our study and underwent comprehensive assessments of the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia, working memory tasks, and resting-state FC magnetic resonance imaging. The patients with early-stage schizophrenia had increased FC of the thalamus with the bilateral postcentral and temporal gyri, inferior occipital cortex, and temporal pole and decreased FC of the thalamus with the vestibulocerebellum and frontal pole compared with the controls. Furthermore, increased FC between the thalamus and temporal pole was positively correlated with positive scores of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for Schizophrenia (PANSS) and negatively correlated with performance on working memory tasks in early-stage schizophrenia. Increased FC of the thalamus with the inferior occipital cortex was positively associated with negative PANSS scores and negatively correlated with Personal and Social Performance Scale scores in early-stage schizophrenia. Our results supported the vital role of thalamus-related network dysfunction in the psychopathology and cognitive deficits of early-stage schizophrenia.
The anterior and centromedian thalamus: Anatomy, function, and dysfunction in epilepsy.
The thalamus is a densely connected collection of nuclei that play a critical role in gating information flow across the neocortex. Through diffuse reciprocal cortico-thalamo-cortical connectivity, the anterior and centromedian nuclei exert remarkable control over cortically expressed activity. Consequently, mounting evidence implicates these thalamic centres in both the genesis and propagation of aberrant epileptiform activity across the brain. The present work reviews existing literature with regards to the anatomy, function, and dysfunction of the anterior and centromedian thalamic nuclei as they relate to epileptogenesis and ictal dynamics in humans. A confluence of electrophysiological, anatomical, and neuromodulatory evidence links these thalamic hubs to a variety of epilepsy syndromes. These data are discussed as they relate to targeted thalamic neuromodulation.
Structural connectivity-based segmentation of the thalamus and prediction of tremor improvement following thalamic deep brain stimulation of the ventral intermediate nucleus.
Middlebrooks Erik H,Tuna Ibrahim S,Almeida Leonardo,Grewal Sanjeet S,Wong Joshua,Heckman Michael G,Lesser Elizabeth R,Bredel Markus,Foote Kelly D,Okun Michael S,Holanda Vanessa M
OBJECTIVES:Traditional targeting methods for thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) performed to address tremor have predominantly relied on indirect atlas-based methods that focus on the ventral intermediate nucleus despite known variability in thalamic functional anatomy. Improvements in preoperative targeting may help maximize outcomes and reduce thalamic DBS-related complications. In this study, we evaluated the ability of thalamic parcellation with structural connectivity-based segmentation (SCBS) to predict tremor improvement following thalamic DBS. METHODS:In this retrospective analysis of 40 patients with essential tremor, hard segmentation of the thalamus was performed by using probabilistic tractography to assess structural connectivity to 7 cortical targets. The volume of tissue activated (VTA) was modeled in each patient on the basis of the DBS settings. The volume of overlap between the VTA and the 7 thalamic segments was determined and correlated with changes in preoperative and postoperative Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (TRS) scores by using multivariable linear regression models. RESULTS:A significant association was observed between greater VTA in the supplementary motor area (SMA) and premotor cortex (PMC) thalamic segment and greater improvement in TRS score when considering both the raw change (P = .001) and percentage change (P = .011). In contrast, no association was observed between change in TRS score and VTA in the primary motor cortex thalamic segment (P ≥ .19). CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggest that greater VTA in the thalamic SMA/PMC segment during thalamic DBS was associated with significant improvement in TRS score in patients with tremor. These findings support the potential role of thalamic SCBS as an independent predictor of tremor improvement in patients who receive thalamic DBS.
First application of 7-T ultra-high field diffusion tensor imaging to detect altered microstructure of thalamic-somatosensory anatomy in trigeminal neuralgia.
Rutland John W,Huang Kuang-Han,Gill Corey M,Villavisanis Dillan F,Alper Judy,Verma Gaurav,Bederson Joshua B,Delman Bradley N,Shrivastava Raj K,Balchandani Priti
Journal of neurosurgery
OBJECTIVE:Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a debilitating neurological disease that commonly results from neurovascular compression of the trigeminal nerve (CN V). Although the CN V has been extensively studied at the site of neurovascular compression, many pathophysiological factors remain obscure. For example, thalamic-somatosensory function is thought to be altered in TN, but the abnormalities are inadequately characterized. Furthermore, there are few studies using 7-T MRI to examine patients with TN. The purpose of the present study was to use 7-T MRI to assess microstructural alteration in the thalamic-somatosensory tracts of patients with TN by using ultra-high field MRI. METHODS:Ten patients with TN and 10 age- and sex-matched healthy controls underwent scanning using 7-T MRI with diffusion tensor imaging. Structural images were segmented with an automated algorithm to obtain thalamus and primary somatosensory cortex (S1). Probabilistic tractography was performed between the thalamus and S1, and the microstructure of the thalamic-somatosensory tracts was compared between patients with TN and controls. RESULTS:Fractional anisotropy of the thalamic-somatosensory tract ipsilateral to the site of neurovascular compression was reduced in patients (mean 0.43) compared with side-matched controls (mean 0.47, p = 0.01). The mean diffusivity was increased ipsilaterally in patients (mean 6.58 × 10-4 mm2/second) compared with controls (mean 6.15 × 10-4 mm2/second, p = 0.02). Radial diffusivity was increased ipsilaterally in patients (mean 4.91 × 10-4 mm2/second) compared with controls (mean 4.44 × 10-4 mm2/second, p = 0.01). Topographical analysis revealed fractional anisotropy reduction and diffusivity elevation along the entire anatomical S1 arc in patients with TN. CONCLUSIONS:The present study is the first to examine microstructural properties of the thalamic-somatosensory anatomy in patients with TN and to evaluate quantitative differences compared with healthy controls. The finding of reduced integrity of these white matter fibers provides evidence of microstructural alteration at the level of the thalamus and S1, and furthers the understanding of TN neurobiology.
Leveraging high-resolution 7-tesla MRI to derive quantitative metrics for the trigeminal nerve and subnuclei of limbic structures in trigeminal neuralgia.
Alper Judy,Seifert Alan C,Verma Gaurav,Huang Kuang-Han,Jacob Yael,Al Qadi Ameen,Rutland John W,Patel Sheetal,Bederson Joshua,Shrivastava Raj K,Delman Bradley N,Balchandani Priti
The journal of headache and pain
BACKGROUND:Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is a chronic neurological disease that is strongly associated with neurovascular compression (NVC) of the trigeminal nerve near its root entry zone. The trigeminal nerve at the site of NVC has been extensively studied but limbic structures that are potentially involved in TN have not been adequately characterized. Specifically, the hippocampus is a stress-sensitive region which may be structurally impacted by chronic TN pain. As the center of the emotion-related network, the amygdala is closely related to stress regulation and may be associated with TN pain as well. The thalamus, which is involved in the trigeminal sensory pathway and nociception, may play a role in pain processing of TN. The objective of this study was to assess structural alterations in the trigeminal nerve and subregions of the hippocampus, amygdala, and thalamus in TN patients using ultra-high field MRI and examine quantitative differences in these structures compared with healthy controls. METHODS:Thirteen TN patients and 13 matched controls were scanned at 7-Tesla MRI with high resolution, T1-weighted imaging. Nerve cross sectional area (CSA) was measured and an automated algorithm was used to segment hippocampal, amygdaloid, and thalamic subregions. Nerve CSA and limbic structure subnuclei volumes were compared between TN patients and controls. RESULTS:CSA of the posterior cisternal nerve on the symptomatic side was smaller in patients (3.75 mm) compared with side-matched controls (5.77 mm, p = 0.006). In TN patients, basal subnucleus amygdala volume (0.347 mm) was reduced on the symptomatic side compared with controls (0.401 mm, p = 0.025) and the paralaminar subnucleus volume (0.04 mm) was also reduced on the symptomatic side compared with controls (0.05 mm, p = 0.009). The central lateral thalamic subnucleus was larger in TN patients on both the symptomatic side (0.033 mm) and asymptomatic side (0.035 mm), compared with the corresponding sides in controls (0.025 mm on both sides, p = 0.048 and p = 0.003 respectively). The inferior and lateral pulvinar thalamic subnuclei were both reduced in TN patients on the symptomatic side (0.2 mm and 0.17 mm respectively) compared to controls (0.23 mm, p = 0.04 and 0.18 mm, p = 0.04 respectively). No significant findings were found in the hippocampal subfields analyzed. CONCLUSIONS:These findings, generated through a highly sensitive 7 T MRI protocol, provide compelling support for the theory that TN neurobiology is a complex amalgamation of local structural changes within the trigeminal nerve and structural alterations in subnuclei of limbic structures directly and indirectly involved in nociception and pain processing.