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

Abstract

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 crossing bundles within the centrum semiovale has 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 population-based atlas of the whole-fanning PyT with a complete description of its most corticolateral projections. Clinical applications are envisaged, the whole-fanning PyT atlas being likely a better marker of corticospinal integrity metrics than those currently used within the frame of prediction of poststroke motor recovery. The present population-based PyT, freely available, provides an interesting tool for clinical applications to locate specific PyT damage and its impact to the short- and long-term motor recovery after stroke.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr. Thomas Tourdias for the helpful comments and discussion.

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Correspondence to Laurent Petit.

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The study was approved by the local ethics committee (CCPRB Basse-Normandie).

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Chenot, Q., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Rheault, F. et al. A population-based atlas of the human pyramidal tract in 410 healthy participants. Brain Struct Funct 224, 599–612 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-018-1798-7

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Keywords

  • White-matter anatomy
  • Pyramidal tract
  • Corticospinal tract
  • Corticobulbar tract
  • Healthy human
  • Diffusion imaging
  • Tractography