White matter tractography guided by anatomical and microstructural priors

Gabriel Girard 1
1 ATHENA - Computational Imaging of the Central Nervous System
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée
Abstract : Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging is a unique imaging modality sensitive to the microscopic movement of water molecules in biological tissues. By characterizing the movement of water molecules, it is possible to infer the macroscopic neuronal pathways of the brain. The technique, so-called tractography, had become the tool of choice to study non-invasively the human brain's white matter in vivo. For instance, it has been used in neurosurgical intervention planning and in neurodegenerative diseases monitoring. In this thesis, we report biases from current tractography reconstruction and suggest methods to reduce them. We first use anatomical priors, derived from a high resolution T1-weighted image, to guide tractography. We show that knowledge of the nature of biological tissue helps tractography to reconstruct anatomically valid neuronal pathways, and reduces biases in the estimation of complex white matter regions. We then use microstructural priors, derived from the state-of-the-art diffusionweighted magnetic resonance imaging protocol, in the tractography reconstruction process. This allows tractography to follow the movement of water molecules not only along neuronal pathways, but also in a microstructurally specific environment. Thus, the tractography distinguishes more accurately neuronal pathways and reduces reconstruction errors. Moreover, it provides the mean to study white matter microstructure characteristics along neuronal pathways. Altogether, we show that anatomical and microstructural priors used during the tractography process improve brain’s white matter reconstruction.
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Gabriel Girard. White matter tractography guided by anatomical and microstructural priors. Human health and pathology. Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016NICE4014⟩. ⟨tel-01369022⟩

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