Background: Clustering thalamic nuclei is important for both research and clinical purposes. For example, ventral intermediate nuclei in thalami serve as targets in both deep brain stimulation neurosurgery and radiosurgery for treating patients suffering from movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson's disease and essential tremor). Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) is able to reflect tissue microstructure in the central nervous system via fitting different models, such as, the diffusion tensor (DT), constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD), neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) and the spherical mean technique (SMT). Purpose: To test which of the above-mentioned dMRI models is better for thalamic parcellation, we proposed a framework of k-means clustering, implemented it on each model, and evaluated the agreement with histology. Method: An ex vivo monkey brain was scanned in a 9.4T MRI scanner at 0.3mm resolution with b values of 3000, 6000, 9000 and 12000 s/mm2. K-means clustering on each thalamus was implemented using maps of dMRI models fitted to the same data. Meanwhile, histological nuclei were identified by AChE and Nissl stains of the same brain. Overall agreement rate and agreement rate for each nucleus were calculated between clustering and histology. Sixteen thalamic nuclei on each hemisphere were included. Results: Clustering with the DKI model has slightly higher overall agreement rate but clustering with other dMRI models result in higher agreement rate in some nuclei. Conclusion: dMRl models should be carefully selected to better parcellate the thalamus, depending on the specific purpose of the parcellation.
Yurui Gao, Kurt G. Schilling, Iwona Stepniewska, Junzhong Xu, Bennett A. Landman, Benoit M. Dawant, and Adam W. Anderson, "Tests of clustering thalamic nuclei based on various dMRI models in the squirrel monkey brain," Proc. SPIE 10578, Medical Imaging 2018: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging, 1057805 (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 11, 2018; Published: 12 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293879.
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