We present a region template and a protocol for transforming that template to define anatomical volumes of interest (VOIs) in the human brain without operator intervention, based on software contained in the SPM99 package (Statistical Parametric Mapping, Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, London, UK). We used an MRI of a reference brain to create an anatomical template of 41 VOIs, covering the entire brain, that can be spatially transformed to fit individual brain scans. Modified software allows for the reslicing and adaptation of the transformed template to any type of coregistered functional data. Individually defined VOIs can be added. We present an assessment of the necessary spatial transformations and compare results obtained for scans acquired in two different orientations. To evaluate the spatial transformations, 11 landmarks distributed throughout the brain were chosen. Euclidean distances between repeat samples at each landmark were averaged across all landmarks to give a mean difference of 1.3 plus minus 1.0 mm. Average Euclidean distances between landmarks (MRI:transformed template) were 8.1 plus minus 3.7 mm in anterior-posterior commissure (ACPC) and 7.6 plus minus 3.7 mm in temporal lobe (TL) orientation. In this study, we use [(11)C]-flumazenil-(FMZ-)PET as an example for the application of the region template. Thirty-four healthy volunteers were scanned, 21 in standard ACPC orientation, 13 in TL orientation. All had high resolution MRI and FMZ-PET. The average coefficient of variation (CV) of FMZ binding for cortical regions was 0.15, comparable with CVs from manually defined VOIs. FMZ binding was significantly different in 6/19 anatomical areas in the control groups obtained in the different orientations, probably due to anisotropic voxel dimensions. This new template allows for the reliable and fast definition of multiple VOIs. It can be used for different imaging modalities and in different orientations. It is necessary that imaging data for groups compared are acquired in the same orientation.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.