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. 2015 Feb;25(2):406-14.
doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht231. Epub 2013 Sep 7.

Cortical and Subcortical Connections of the Human Claustrum Revealed in Vivo by Constrained Spherical Deconvolution Tractography

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Cortical and Subcortical Connections of the Human Claustrum Revealed in Vivo by Constrained Spherical Deconvolution Tractography

Demetrio Milardi et al. Cereb Cortex. .

Abstract

The claustrum is a thin layer of gray matter that is at the center of an active scientific debate. Recently, Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD) tractography has proved to be an extraordinary tool allowing to track white matter fibers from cortex to cortical and subcortical targets with subvoxel resolution. The aim of this study was to evaluate claustral connectivity in the human brain. Ten normal brains were analyzed by using the High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging CSD-based technique. Tractography revealed 4 groups of white matter fibers connecting the claustrum with the brain cortex: Anterior, posterior, superior, and lateral. The anterior and posterior cortico-claustral tracts connected the claustrum to prefrontal cortex and visual areas. The superior tract linked the claustrum with sensory-motor areas, while the lateral pathway connected the claustrum to the auditory cortex. In addition, we demonstrated a claustral medial pathway connecting the claustrum with the basal ganglia, specifically with caudate nucleus, putamen, and globus pallidus. An interesting and exciting new finding was the demonstration of a bilateral connection between claustrum and contralateral cortical areas and a well-represented interclaustral communication with interconnection bundles interspersed within the bulk of the trunk of the corpus callosum. The physiological and pathophysiological relevance of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: basal ganglia; claustrum; constrained spherical deconvolution; tractography.

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