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Quantification of the spatiotemporal microstructural organization of the human brain association, projection and commissural pathways across the lifespan using diffusion tensor tractography


Using diffusion tensor tractography, we quantified the microstructural changes in the association, projection, and commissural compact white matter pathways of the human brain over the lifespan in a cohort of healthy right-handed children and adults aged 6–68 years. In both males and females, the diffusion tensor radial diffusivity of the bilateral arcuate fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus, corticospinal, somatosensory tracts, and the corpus callosum followed a U-curve with advancing age; fractional anisotropy in the same pathways followed an inverted U-curve. Our study provides useful baseline data for the interpretation of data collected from patients.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3





Arcuate fasciculus






Corpus callosum


Corticospinal tract


Diffusion tensor imaging


Diffusion tensor tractography


Diffusion tensor fiber tracking




Genu of the corpus callosum


Fractional anisotropy


Fronto-parietal segment of arcuate fasciculus


Fronto-temporal segment of arcuate fasciculus


Inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus


Inferior longitudinal fasciculus






Magnetic resonance imaging


Poster limb of internal capsule






Signal-to-noise ratio


Splenium of the corpus callosum


Somatosensory pathway


Temporo-parietal segment of arcuate fasciculus


Uncinate fasciculus


Voxel-based analysis




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This work is funded by NIH R01 NS052505-04 awarded to KMH, NINDS R01 NS046308 awarded to LEC and P01 HD35946 awarded to JMF. The assistance of Vipul Kumar Patel in data acquisition is appreciated.

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Correspondence to Khader M. Hasan.

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Hasan, K.M., Kamali, A., Abid, H. et al. Quantification of the spatiotemporal microstructural organization of the human brain association, projection and commissural pathways across the lifespan using diffusion tensor tractography. Brain Struct Funct 214, 361–373 (2010).

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  • Lifespan
  • White matter fiber tract development
  • Association
  • Projection
  • Commissural pathways
  • Aging
  • Nonlinear trajectories
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Tractography