Combined DTI Tractography and Functional MRI Study of the Language Connectome in Healthy Volunteers: Extensive Mapping of White Matter Fascicles and Cortical Activations

Abstract : Despite a better understanding of brain language organization into large-scale cortical networks , the underlying white matter (WM) connectivity is still not mastered. Here we combined diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) fiber tracking (FT) and language functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in twenty healthy subjects to gain new insights into the macro-scopic structural connectivity of language. Eight putative WM fascicles for language were probed using a deterministic DTI-FT technique: the arcuate fascicle (AF), superior longitudinal fascicle (SLF), uncinate fascicle (UF), temporo-occipital fascicle, inferior fronto-occipital fascicle (IFOF), middle longitudinal fascicle (MdLF), frontal aslant fascicle and operculopre-motor fascicle. Specific measurements (i.e. volume, length, fractional anisotropy) and precise cortical terminations were derived for each WM fascicle within both hemispheres. Connections between these WM fascicles and fMRI activations were studied to determine which WM fascicles are related to language. WM fascicle volumes showed asymmetries: leftward for the AF, temporoparietal segment of SLF and UF, and rightward for the fronto-parietal segment of the SLF. The lateralization of the AF, IFOF and MdLF extended to differences in patterns of anatomical connections, which may relate to specific hemispheric abilities. The leftward asymmetry of the AF was correlated to the leftward asymmetry of fMRI activations, suggesting that the lateralization of the AF is a structural substrate of hemispheric language dominance. We found consistent connections between fMRI activations and terminations of the eight WM fascicles, providing a detailed description of the PLOS ONE |
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François Vassal, Fabien Schneider, Claire Boutet, Betty Jean, Anna Sontheimer, et al.. Combined DTI Tractography and Functional MRI Study of the Language Connectome in Healthy Volunteers: Extensive Mapping of White Matter Fascicles and Cortical Activations. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2016, 11 (3), pp.e0152614. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0152614⟩. ⟨hal-01654748⟩

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