Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging has the ability to map neuronal architecture by estimating the 3D diffusion displacement within fibrous brain structures. This approach has non-invasively been demonstrated in the human brain with diffusion tensor tractography. Despite its valuable application in neuroscience and clinical studies however, it faces an inherent limit in mapping fiber tracts through areas with intervoxel incoherence. Recent advances in high angular resolution diffusion imaging have surpassed this limit and have the ability to resolve the complex fiber intercrossing within each MR voxel. To connect the fiber tracts from a multi-fiber system, this study proposed a modified fiber assignment using the continuous tracking (MFACT) algorithm and a tracking browser to propagate tracts along complex diffusion profiles. The Q-ball imaging method was adopted to acquire the diffusion displacements. Human motor pathways with seed points from the internal capsule, motor cortex, and pons were studied respectively. The results were consistent with known anatomy and demonstrated the promising potential of the MFACT method in mapping the complex neuronal architecture in the human brain.
- High angular resolution diffusion imaging