A multiple-plane approach to measure the structural properties of functionally active regions in the human cortex
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Advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques provide the means of studying both the structural and the functional properties of various brain regions, allowing us to address the relationship between the structural changes in human brain regions and the activity of these regions. However, analytical approaches combining functional (fMRI) and structural (sMRI) information are still far from optimal. In order to improve the accuracy of measurement of structural properties in active regions, the current study tested a new analytical approach that repeated a surface-based analysis at multiple planes crossing different depths of cortex. Twelve subjects underwent a fear conditioning study. During these tasks, fMRI and sMRI scans were acquired. The fMRI images were carefully registered to the sMRI images with an additional correction for cortical borders. The fMRI images were then analyzed with the new multiple-plane surface-based approach as compared to the volume-based approach, and the cortical thickness and volume of an active region were measured. The results suggested (1) using an additional correction for cortical borders and an intermediate template image produced an acceptable registration of fMRI and sMRI images; (2) surface-based analysis at multiple depths of cortex revealed more activity than the same analysis at any single depth; (3) projection of active surface vertices in a ribbon fashion improved active volume estimates; and (4) correction with gray matter segmentation removed non-cortical regions from the volumetric measurement of active regions. In conclusion, the new multiple-plane surface-based analysis approaches produce improved measurement of cortical thickness and volume of active brain regions. These results support the use of novel approaches for combined analysis of functional and structural neuroimaging.
author list (cited authors)
Wang, X., Garfinkel, S. N., King, A. P., Angstadt, M., Dennis, M. J., Xie, H., ... Liberzon, I.