Brain tissues have single-voxel signatures in multi-spectral MRI

Neuroimage. 2021 Jul 1;234:117986. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117986. Epub 2021 Mar 20.


Since the seminal works by Brodmann and contemporaries, it is well-known that different brain regions exhibit unique cytoarchitectonic and myeloarchitectonic features. Transferring the approach of classifying brain tissues - and other tissues - based on their intrinsic features to the realm of magnetic resonance (MR) is a longstanding endeavor. In the 1990s, atlas-based segmentation replaced earlier multi-spectral classification approaches because of the large overlap between the class distributions. Here, we explored the feasibility of performing global brain classification based on intrinsic MR features, and used several technological advances: ultra-high field MRI, q-space trajectory diffusion imaging revealing voxel-intrinsic diffusion properties, chemical exchange saturation transfer and semi-solid magnetization transfer imaging as a marker of myelination and neurochemistry, and current neural network architectures to analyze the data. In particular, we used the raw image data as well to increase the number of input features. We found that a global brain classification of roughly 97 brain regions was feasible with gross classification accuracy of 60%; and that mapping from voxel-intrinsic MR data to the brain region to which the data belongs is possible. This indicates the presence of unique MR signals of different brain regions, similar to their cytoarchitectonic and myeloarchitectonic fingerprints.

Keywords: Brain; Data Analysis; High-Field Imaging; MRI; Machine Learning; Segmentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping / classification
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Data Analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning* / classification
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / classification
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult