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Title: Fiber length profiling : a novel approach to structural brain organization
Authors: Bajada, Claude J.
Schreiber, Jan
Caspers, Svenja
Keywords: White matter
Prefrontal cortex
Cognitive neuroscience
Optical data processing
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Citation: Bajada, C. J., Schreiber, J., & Caspers, S. (2019). Fiber length profiling: A novel approach to structural brain organization. Neuroimage, 186, 164-173.
Abstract: There has been a recent increased interest in the structural connectivity of the cortex. However, an important feature of connectivity remains relatively unexplored; tract length. In this article, we develop an approach to characterize fiber length distributions across the human cerebral cortex. We used data from 76 participants of the Adult WU-Minn Human Connectome Project using probabilistic tractography. We found that connections of different lengths are not evenly distributed across the cortex. They form patterns where certain areas have a high density of fibers of a specific length while other areas have very low density. To assess the relevance of these new maps in relation to established characteristics, we compared them to structural indices such as cortical myelin content and cortical thickness. Additionally, we assessed their relation to resting state network organization. We noted that areas with very short fibers have relatively more myelin and lower cortical thickness while the pattern is inverted for longer fibers. Furthermore, the cortical fiber length distributions produce specific correlation patterns with functional resting state networks. Specifically, we find evidence that as resting state networks increase in complexity, their length profiles change. The functionally more complex networks correlate with maps of varying lengths while primary networks have more restricted correlations. We posit that these maps are a novel way of differentiating between ‘local modules’ that have restricted connections to ‘neighboring’ areas and ‘functional integrators’ that have more far reaching connectivity.
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