Evaluation of the GTRACT diffusion tensor tractography algorithm: a validation and reliability study

Neuroimage. 2006 Jul 1;31(3):1075-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.01.028. Epub 2006 May 2.


Fiber tracking, based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), is the only approach available to non-invasively study the three-dimensional structure of white matter tracts. Two major obstacles to this technique are partial volume artifacts and tracking errors caused by image noise. In this paper, a novel fiber tracking algorithm called Guided Tensor Restore Anatomical Connectivity Tractography (GTRACT) is presented. This algorithm utilizes a multi-pass approach to fiber tracking. In the first pass, a 3D graph search algorithm is utilized. The second pass incorporates anatomical connectivity information generated in the first pass to guide the tracking in this stage. This approach improves the ability to reconstruct complex fiber paths as well as the tracking accuracy. Validation and reliability studies using this algorithm were performed on both synthetic phantom data and clinical human brain data. A method is also proposed for the evaluating reliability of fiber tract generation based both on the position of the fiber tracts, as well the anisotropy values along the path. The results demonstrate that the GTRACT algorithm is less sensitive to image noise and more capable of handling areas of complex fiber crossing, compared to conventional streamline methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Anisotropy
  • Axons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Nerve Fibers / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Ultrasonography