skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Mapping the Microstructure and Striae of the Human Olfactory Tract with Diffusion MRI
The human sense of smell plays an important role in appetite and food intake, detecting environmental threats, social interactions, and memory processing. However, little is known about the neural circuity supporting its function. The olfactory tracts project from the olfactory bulb along the base of the frontal cortex, branching into several striae to meet diverse cortical regions. Historically, using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) to reconstruct the human olfactory tracts has been prevented by susceptibility and motion artifacts. Here, we used a dMRI method with readout segmentation of long variable echo-trains (RESOLVE) to minimize image distortions and characterize the human olfactory tracts in vivo . We collected high-resolution dMRI data from 25 healthy human participants (12 male and 13 female) and performed probabilistic tractography using constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD). At the individual subject level, we identified the lateral, medial, and intermediate striae with their respective cortical connections to the piriform cortex and amygdala (AMY), olfactory tubercle (OT), and anterior olfactory nucleus (AON). We combined individual results across subjects to create a normalized, probabilistic atlas of the olfactory tracts. We then investigated the relationship between olfactory perceptual scores and measures of white matter integrity, including mean diffusivity (MD). Importantly, we found that olfactory tract MD negatively correlated with odor discrimination performance. In summary, our results provide a detailed characterization of the connectivity of the human olfactory tracts and demonstrate an association between their structural integrity and olfactory perceptual function. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study provides the first detailed in vivo description of the cortical connectivity of the three olfactory tract striae in the human brain, using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). Additionally, we show that tract microstructure correlates with performance on an odor discrimination task, suggesting a link between the structural integrity of the olfactory tracts and odor perception. Lastly, we generated a normalized probabilistic atlas of the olfactory tracts that may be used in future research to study its integrity in health and disease.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2203524 2148700 2148729 1734853 1912270 1636893
NSF-PAR ID:
10412539
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journal of Neuroscience
Volume:
42
Issue:
1
ISSN:
0270-6474
Page Range / eLocation ID:
58 to 68
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) allows for non-invasive, detailed examination of the white matter structures of the brain. White matter tract-specific measures based on either the diffusion tensor model (e.g. FA, ADC, and MD) or tractography (e.g. volume, streamline count or density) are often compared between groups of subjects to localize differences within the white matter. Less commonly examined is the shape of the individual white matter tracts. In this paper, we propose to use the Laplace-Beltrami (LB) spectrum as a descriptor of the shape of white matter tracts. We provide an open, automated pipeline for the computation of the LB spectrum on segmented white matter tracts and demonstrate its efficacy through machine learning classification experiments. We show that the LB spectrum allows for distinguishing subjects diagnosed with bipolar disorder from age and sex-matched healthy controls, with classification accuracy reaching 95%. We further demonstrate that the results cannot be explained by traditional measures, such as tract volume, streamline count or mean and total length. The results indicate that there is valuable information in the anatomical shape of the human white matter tracts. 
    more » « less
  2. We investigated the impact of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) on visual acuity and the visual white matter. We combined an adaptive cortical atlas and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) and tractography to separate optic radiation (OR) projections to different retinal eccentricities in human primary visual cortex. We exploited the known anatomical organization of the OR and clinically relevant data to segment the OR into three primary components projecting to fovea, mid- and far-periphery. We measured white matter tissue properties—fractional anisotropy, linearity, planarity, sphericity—along the aforementioned three components of the optic radiation to compare AMD patients and controls. We found differences in white matter properties specific to OR white matter fascicles projecting to primary visual cortex locations corresponding to the location of retinal damage (fovea). Additionally, we show that the magnitude of white matter properties in AMD patients’ correlates with visual acuity. In sum, we demonstrate a specific relation between visual loss, anatomical location of retinal damage and white matter damage in AMD patients. Importantly, we demonstrate that these changes are so profound that can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging data with clinical resolution. The conserved mapping between retinal and white matter damage suggests that retinal neurodegeneration might be a primary cause of white matter degeneration in AMD patients. The results highlight the impact of eye disease on brain tissue, a process that may become an important target to monitor during the course of treatment. 
    more » « less
  3. Lay Summary

    White matter tracts are the data cables in the brain that efficiently transfer information, and damage to these tracts could be the cause for the abnormal behaviors that are associated with autism. We found that two long‐range tracts (the anterior thalamic radiation and the cingulum) were both impaired in autism but were not directly related to the impairments in behavior. This suggests that the abnormal tracts and behavior are the effects of another underlying mechanism.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    The study of human brain connectivity, including structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC), provides insights into the neurophysiological mechanism of brain function and its relationship to human behavior and cognition. Both types of connectivity measurements provide crucial yet complementary information. However, integrating these two modalities into a single framework remains a challenge, because of the differences in their quantitative interdependencies as well as their anatomical representations due to distinctive imaging mechanisms. In this study, we introduced a new method, joint connectivity matrix independent component analysis (cmICA), which provides a data‐driven parcellation and automated‐linking of SC and FC information simultaneously using a joint analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion‐weighted MRI data. We showed that these two connectivity modalities produce common cortical segregation, though with various degrees of (dis)similarity. Moreover, we show conjoint FC networks and structural white matter tracts that directly link these cortical parcellations/sources, within one analysis. Overall, data‐driven joint cmICA provides a new approach for integrating or fusing structural connectivity and FC systematically and conveniently, and provides an effective tool for connectivity‐based multimodal data fusion in brain.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    We describe a dataset of processed data with associated reproducible preprocessing pipeline collected from two collegiate athlete groups and one non-athlete group. The dataset shares minimally processed diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) data, three models of the diffusion signal in the voxel, full-brain tractograms, segmentation of the major white matter tracts as well as structural connectivity matrices. There is currently a paucity of similar datasets openly shared. Furthermore, major challenges are associated with collecting this type of data. The data and derivatives shared here can be used as a reference to study the effects of long-term exposure to collegiate athletics, such as the effects of repetitive head impacts. We use advanced anatomical and dMRI data processing methods publicly available as reproducible web services at brainlife.io.

     
    more » « less