Probabilistic functional tractography of the human cortex

Neuroimage. 2013 Oct 15:80:307-17. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.075. Epub 2013 May 24.


Single-pulse direct electrical stimulation of cortical regions in patients suffering from focal drug-resistant epilepsy who are explored using intracranial electrodes induces cortico-cortical potentials that can be used to infer functional and anatomical connectivity. Here, we describe a neuroimaging framework that allows development of a new probabilistic atlas of functional tractography of the human cortex from those responses. This atlas is unique because it allows inference in vivo of the directionality and latency of cortico-cortical connectivity, which are still largely unknown at the human brain level. In this technical note, we include 1535 stimulation runs performed in 35 adult patients. We use a case of frontal lobe epilepsy to illustrate the asymmetrical connectivity between the posterior hippocampal gyrus and the orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, as a proof of concept for group studies, we study the probabilistic functional tractography between the posterior superior temporal gyrus and the inferior frontal gyrus. In the near future, the atlas database will be continuously increased, and the methods will be improved in parallel, for more accurate estimation of features of interest. Generated probabilistic maps will be freely distributed to the community because they provide critical information for further understanding and modelling of large-scale brain networks.

Keywords: Brain atlas; Epilepsy; Intracranial electroencephalogram; Neuroimaging; Signal analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult