Regionconnect: Rapidly extracting standardized brain connectivity information in voxel-wise neuroimaging studies

Neuroimage. 2021 Jan 15;225:117462. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117462. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Abstract

Reporting white matter findings in voxel-wise neuroimaging studies typically lacks specificity in terms of brain connectivity. Therefore, the purpose of this work was to develop an approach for rapidly extracting standardized brain connectivity information for white matter regions with significant findings in voxel-wise neuroimaging studies. The new approach was named regionconnect and is based on precalculated average healthy adult brain connectivity information stored in standard space in a fashion that allows fast retrieval and integration. Towards this goal, the present work first generated and evaluated the white matter connectome of the IIT Human Brain Atlas v.5.0. It was demonstrated that the edges of the atlas connectome are representative of those of individual participants of the Human Connectome Project in terms of the spatial organization of streamlines and spatial patterns of track-density. Next, the new white matter connectome was used to develop multi-layer, connectivity-based labels for each white matter voxel of the atlas, consistent with the fact that each voxel may contain axons from multiple connections. The regionconnect algorithm was then developed to rapidly integrate information contained in the multi-layer labels across voxels of a white matter region and to generate a list of the most probable connections traversing that region. Usage of regionconnect does not require high angular resolution diffusion MRI or any MRI data. The regionconnect algorithm as well as the white matter tractogram and connectome, multi-layer, connectivity-based labels, and associated resources developed for the IIT Human Brain Atlas v.5.0 in this work are available at www.nitrc.org/projects/iit. An interactive, online version of regionconnect is also available at www.iit.edu/~mri.

Keywords: Atlas; Brain; Connectivity; Regionconnect; White matter.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Connectome*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult