Manual segmentation of the human bed nucleus of the stria terminalis using 3T MRI

Neuroimage. 2017 Feb 1:146:288-292. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.11.047. Epub 2016 Nov 19.


The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST)-a small gray matter region located in the basal forebrain-has been implicated in both anxiety and addiction based on compelling evidence from rodent and non-human primate studies. However, the BNST's small size and proximity to other gray matter regions has hindered non-invasive study in human subjects using standard neuroimaging methods. While initial studies have benefitted from a BNST mask created from a single human subject using a 7T scanner, individual variability is likely-especially in patient populations-thus a manual segmentation protocol is needed. Here we report on the development of a reliable manual segmentation protocol performed on 3T MRI images using a scanning sequence that provides high gray matter/white matter/cerebrospinal fluid contrast. Inter- and intra-rater reliabilities, measured in 10 healthy individuals, demonstrate that the protocol can be reliably implemented (intra-rater Dice similarity coefficient≥0.85, inter-rater≥0.77). This BNST tracing protocol provides the necessary foundation for future 3T MRI studies of the BNST in healthy controls and patient populations.

Keywords: Addiction; Anxiety; BNST; MRI; Segmentation; Volumes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Septal Nuclei / anatomy & histology*
  • White Matter / anatomy & histology
  • Young Adult