Development of high quality T1-weighted and diffusion tensor templates of the older adult brain in a common space

Neuroimage. 2022 Oct 15:260:119417. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119417. Epub 2022 Jul 3.


High-quality T1-weighted (T1w) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) brain templates that are representative of the individuals under study enhance the accuracy of template-based neuroimaging investigations, and when they are also located in a common space they facilitate optimal integration of information on brain morphometry and diffusion characteristics. However, such multimodal templates have not been constructed for the brain of older adults. The purpose of this work was threefold: (A) to introduce an iterative method for construction of multimodal T1w and DTI templates that aims at maximizing the quality of each template separately as well as the spatial matching between templates, (B) to use this method to develop T1w and DTI templates of the older adult brain in a common space, and (C) to evaluate the performance of the method across iterations and compare it to the performance of state-of-the-art approaches based on multichannel registration. It was demonstrated that more iterations of the proposed method enhanced the characteristics and spatial matching of the resulting T1w and DTI templates. The templates of the older adult brain generated by the final iteration of the proposed method provided better delineation of brain structures, higher discriminability between tissues, and higher image sharpness near the cortex compared to templates generated with approaches employing multichannel registration. In addition, the spatial matching between the T1w and DTI templates constructed by the proposed method approximated the template alignment achieved with methods employing multichannel registration. Finally, when using the templates generated by the proposed method as references for spatial normalization of older adult T1w and DTI data, both the intra-modality inter-subject normalization precision and the inter-modality spatial matching were higher in most metrics than those achieved with templates constructed with other methods. Overall, the present work brought new insights into multimodal template construction, generated much-needed high quality T1w and DTI templates of the older adult brain in a common space, and conducted a thorough, quantitative evaluation of available multimodal template construction methods.

Keywords: Aging; Brain; Diffusion tensor imaging; Multimodal; T(1)-weighted; Template.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging* / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods