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A population-based atlas of the human pyramidal tract in 410 healthy participants

By Quentin Chenot, N Tzourio-Mazoyer, Francois Rheault, Maxime Descoteaux, Fabrice Crivello, L Zago, E Mellet, G Jobard, Marc Joliot, Bernard Mazoyer, L Petit

Posted 22 Jan 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/251108 (published DOI: 10.1007/s00429-018-1798-7)

With the advances in diffusion MRI and tractography, numerous atlases of the human pyramidal tract (PyT) have been proposed but the inherent limitation of tractography to resolve crisscrossed bundles within the centrum semiovale have so far prevented the complete description of the most lateral PyT projections. Here, we combined a precise manual positioning of individual subcortical regions of interest along the descending pathway of the PyT with a new bundle-specific tractography algorithm. This later is based on anatomical priors to improve streamlines tracking in crossing areas. We then extracted both left and right PyT in a large cohort of 410 healthy participants and built a probabilistic atlas of the whole-fanning PyT with a complete description of its most cortico-lateral projections. Clinical applications are envisaged, the whole-fanning probabilistic PyT atlas being likely a better marker of corticospinal integrity metrics than those currently used within the frame of prediction of post-stroke motor recovery. The present probabilistic PyT, freely available, provides an interesting tool for clinical applications in order to locate specific PyT damage and its impact to the short and long-term motor recovery after stroke.

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