Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) tractography can be employed to simultaneously analyze three-dimensional white matter tracts in the brain. Numerous methods have been proposed to model diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance data for tractography, and we have explored the functionality of some of these for studying white and grey matter pathways in ex vivo mouse brain. Using various deterministic and probabilistic algorithms across a range of regions of interest we found that probabilistic tractography provides a more robust means of visualizing both white and grey matter pathways than deterministic tractography. Importantly, we demonstrate the sensitivity of probabilistic tractography profiles to streamline number, step size, curvature, fiber orientation distribution threshold, and wholebrain versus region of interest seeding. Using anatomically well-defined corticothalamic pathways, we show how projection maps can permit the topographical assessment of probabilistic tractography. Finally, we show how different tractography approaches can impact on dMRI assessment of tract changes in a mouse deficient for the frontal cortex morphogen, fibroblast growth factor 17. In conclusion, probabilistic tractography can elucidate the phenotypes of mice with neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders in a quantitative manner.
Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.