Limits to anatomical accuracy of diffusion tractography using modern approaches

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2018

  • Author: Schilling, Kurt G.

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Nath, Vishwesh

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Hansen, Colin H.

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Parvathaneni, Prasanna

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Blaber, Justin

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Gao, Yurui

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Neher, Peter F.

    German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany

  • Author: Aydogan, Dogu Baran

    University of Southern California, United States

  • Author: Shi, Yonggang

    University of Southern California, United States

  • Author: Ocampo-Pineda, Mario

    University of Verona, Italy

  • Author: Schiavi, Simona

    University of Verona, Italy

  • Author: Daducci, Alessandro

    University of Verona, Italy

  • Author: Girard, Gabriel

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Barakovic, Muhamed

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Rafael-Patino, Jonathan

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Romascano, David

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Rensonnet, Gaëtan

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Pizzolato, Marco

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Bates, Alice

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Fischi, Elda

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Thiran, Jean-Philippe

    University of Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Canales-Rodríguez, Erick J.

    University of Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Huang, Chao

    University of North Carolina, United States

  • Author: Zhu, Hongtu

    University of North Carolina, United States

  • Author: Zhong, Liming

    Southern Medical University, United States

  • Author: Cabeen, Ryan

    University of Southern California, United States

  • Author: Toga, Arthur W.

    University of Southern California, United States

  • Author: Rheault, Francois

    Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

  • Author: Theaud, Guillaume

    Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

  • Author: Houde, Jean-Christophe

    Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

  • Author: Sidhu, Jasmeen

    Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

  • Author: Chamberland, Maxime

    Cardiff University, United Kingdom

  • Author: Westin, Carl-Fredrik

    Harvard University, United States

  • Author: Dyrby, Tim B.

    Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance

    Image Analysis & Computer Graphics, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science , Technical University of Denmark, Richard Petersens Plads, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Verma, Ragini

    University of Pennsylvania, United States

  • Author: Rathi, Yogesh

    Harvard University, United States

  • Author: Irfanoglu, M. Okan

    National Institutes of Health, United States

  • Author: Thomas, Cibu

    National Institutes of Health, United States

  • Author: Pierpaoli, Carlo

    National Institutes of Health, United States

  • Author: Descoteaux, Maxime

    Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

  • Author: Anderson, Adam W.

    Vanderbilt University, United States

  • Author: Landman, Bennett A.

    Vanderbilt University, United States

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Diffusion MRI fiber tractography is widely used to probe the structural connectivity of the brain, with a range of applications in both clinical and basic neuroscience. Despite widespread use, tractography has well-known pitfalls that limits the anatomical accuracy of this technique. Numerous modern methods have been developed to address these shortcomings through advances in acquisition, modeling, and computation. To test whether these advances improve tractography accuracy, we organized the 3-D Validation of Tractography with Experimental MRI (3D-VoTEM) challenge at the ISBI 2018 conference. We made available three unique independent tractography validation datasets – a physical phantom and two ex vivo brain specimens - resulting in 176 distinct submissions from 9 research groups. By comparing results over a wide range of fiber complexities and algorithmic strategies, this challenge provides a more comprehensive assessment of tractography's inherent limitations than has been reported previously. The central results were consistent across all sub-challenges in that, despite advances in tractography methods, the anatomical accuracy of tractography has not dramatically improved in recent years. Taken together, our results independently confirm findings from decades of tractography validation studies, demonstrate inherent limitations in reconstructing white matter pathways using diffusion MRI data alone, and highlight the need for alternative or combinatorial strategies to accurately map the fiber pathways of the brain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage
Volume185
Pages (from-to)1-11
ISSN1053-8119
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 0

    Research areas

  • Diffusion MRI, Phantom, Tracer, Tractography, Validation, White matter
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