The macroscopic extrinsic white matter connectivity and the internal structure of the hypothalamus are still incompletely defined in humans. We investigated whether in-vivo diffusion tensor imaging tractography provides evidence of systematization according to hypothalamic compartmentalization. Six defined hypothalamic macroscopic compartments, preoptic, supraoptic, anteroventral, anterodorsal, lateral and posterior, were probed, within the right and left hemispheres of 14 subjects. Important new insights into the macroscopic structure of hypothalamus and white matter connections were found; the preoptic, anteroventral, lateral and posterior compartments are strongly connected to the cortex. The anteroventral connects particularly to the prefrontal cortex while the preoptic compartment connects mainly to the deep anterior brain. The anterodorsal connects mainly to the medial thalamus and the midline gray matter. There is a rightward frontal trend of hemispheric connectivity for the preoptic, anteroventral and lateral compartments. These findings may aid new neuromodulation applications and understanding in brain connectomics.
Published by Elsevier B.V.