The challenge of mapping the human connectome based on diffusion tractography

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2017



  • Author: Maier-Hein, Klaus H.

  • Author: Neher, Peter F.

  • Author: Houde, Jean-Christophe

  • Author: Cote, Marc-Alexandre

  • Author: Garyfallidis, Eleftherios

  • Author: Zhong, Jidan

  • Author: Chamberland, Maxime

  • Author: Yeh, Fang-Cheng

  • Author: Lin, Ying-Chia

  • Author: Ji, Qing

  • Author: Reddick, Wilburn E.

  • Author: Glass, John O.

  • Author: Chen, David Qixiang

  • Author: Feng, Yuanjing

  • Author: Gao, Chengfeng

  • Author: Wu, Ye

  • Author: Ma, Jieyan

  • Author: Renjie, H.

  • Author: Li, Qiang

  • Author: Westin, Carl-Fredrik

  • Author: Deslauriers-Gauthier, Samuel

  • Author: Ocegueda Gonzalez, J. Omar

  • Author: Paquette, Michael

  • Author: St-Jean, Samuel

  • Author: Girard, Gabriel

  • Author: Rheault, Francois

  • Author: Sidhu, Jasmeen

  • Author: Tax, Chantal M. W.

  • Author: Guo, Fenghua

  • Author: Mesri, Hamed Y.

  • Author: David, Szabolcs

  • Author: Froeling, Martijn

  • Author: Heemskerk, Anneriet M.

  • Author: Leemans, Alexander

  • Author: Bore, Arnaud

  • Author: Pinsard, Basile

  • Author: Bedetti, Christophe

  • Author: Desrosiers, Matthieu

  • Author: Brambati, Simona

  • Author: Doyon, Julien

  • Author: Sarica, Alessia

  • Author: Vasta, Roberta

  • Author: Cerasa, Antonio

  • Author: Quattrone, Aldo

  • Author: Yeatman, Jason

  • Author: Khan, Ali R.

  • Author: Hodges, Wes

  • Author: Alexander, Simon

  • Author: Romascano, David

  • Author: Barakovic, Muhamed

  • Author: Auria, Anna

  • Author: Esteban, Oscar

  • Author: Lemkaddem, Alia

  • Author: Thiran, Jean-Philippe

  • Author: Cetingul, H. Ertan

  • Author: Odry, Benjamin L.

  • Author: Mailhe, Boris

  • Author: Nadar, Mariappan S.

  • Author: Pizzagalli, Fabrizio

  • Author: Prasad, Gautam

  • Author: Villalon-Reina, Julio E.

  • Author: Galvis, Justin

  • Author: Thompson, Paul M.

  • Author: de Santiago Requejo, Francisco

  • Author: Laguna, Pedro Luque

  • Author: Lacerda, Luis Miguel

  • Author: Barrett, Rachel L. C.

  • Author: Dell'Acqua, Flavio

  • Author: Catani, Marco

  • Author: Petit, Laurent

  • Author: Caruyer, Emmanuel

  • Author: Daducci, Alessandro

  • Author: Dyrby, Tim Bjørn

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

  • Author: Holland-Letz, Tim

  • Author: Hilgetag, Claus C.

  • Author: Stieltjes, Bram

  • Author: Descoteaux, Maxime

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Tractography based on non-invasive diffusion imaging is central to the study of human brain connectivity. To date, the approach has not been systematically validated in ground truth studies. Based on a simulated human brain data set with ground truth tracts, we organized an open international tractography challenge, which resulted in 96 distinct submissions from 20 research groups. Here, we report the encouraging finding that most state-of-the-art algorithms produce tractograms containing 90% of the ground truth bundles (to at least some extent). However, the same tractograms contain many more invalid than valid bundles, and half of these invalid bundles occur systematically across research groups. Taken together, our results demonstrate and confirm fundamental ambiguities inherent in tract reconstruction based on orientation information alone, which need to be considered when interpreting tractography and connectivity results. Our approach provides a novel framework for estimating reliability of tractography and encourages innovation to address its current limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1349
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Authors. Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

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