DS0402 - Améliorer la Santé par la médecine personnalisée, le diagnostic, la prévention et la thérapie, les stratégies palliatives, en concevant le vivant dans son environnement

In vivo and ex vivo validation of MR tractography of brain white matter tracts – FIBRATLAS II-III

Submission summary

State of the art. Changes in brain white matter may serve as a biomarker for numerous neurological diseases. Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) is a non-invasive MRI technique providing information on white matter tracts (tractography) by studying water diffusion. Despite being based on mathematical models that only indirectly evaluates the underlying anatomy, tractography is frequently used for research and clinical purposes. Several validation techniques
were proposed, none of them being fully convincing in human.

General objective. We propose a novel validation approach by qualitatively, but also quantitatively, comparing tracts obtained in the same subjects from in and ex vivo tractography, to dissection considered as a ground truth.

Specific aims
1) To build up a database containing, for the same subjects, in vivo (3D and DWI-MRI, neuropsychological evaluation) and ex vivo data (DWI-MRI and tracts reconstructions from dissection),
2) To qualitatively and quantitatively compare in and ex vivo MR-tractography to dissection,
3) To develop a website giving free access to data and to this comparison method for research and teaching.

Scientific program (9 tasks 4 years)
1) Project management
2) Quality insurance of the used MR-scanner will use a set of test objects to limit the variability across scanners
3) In vivo MRI and neuropsychological testing. 184 healthy volunteers aged 82 years and over, previously enrolled in a body donation program, will be recruited. Each of them will have a DTI and a QBI DWI-MRI sequence, and a neuropsychological evaluation. Main fiber tracts will be reconstructed using a predefined set of deterministic and probabilistic algorithms
4) Brain extraction and collection. After death (20 expected in 4 years), brains of volunteers will be extracted, formalin-fixed and scanned ex vivo at a high definition using 2 cutting edges MR-scanners:
5) The Connectom scanner (Martinos Center, Charlestown) a unique ultrahigh-gradient-strength MR scanner (300mT/m, 3T) providing high quality ex vivo DWI.
6) The 7T (80mT/M) Neurospin scanner
7) Tracts will also be reconstructed from dissection thanks to the method we previously developed: after anatomical preparation, hemispheres will have a 3D-MRI and then will be dissected after Klingler. Surface of the specimens will be iteratively captured at each step of dissection by 2 techniques: a 3D laser scanner to accurately capture the geometry of the specimen, and a digital camera adding texture to this surface. White matter tracts will be interactively segmented on these surfaces and 3D-reconstructed.
8) Prior to comparison of tractography results to dissections, ex vivo data (tractography and dissection) will be registered onto in vivo MR space. For this purpose, we will use the Combined Volume Surface approach. It was proposed for such a registration with promising results but needs a full validation. We will first quantitatively evaluate and improve this approach, and then qualitatively and quantitatively compare tractography data to dissection regarded as a ground truth.
7) Development of a website giving access to data and comparison method, and to an on-line anatomy teaching tool.

Direct related advances
1) Assessment of in vivo tractography algorithms/DWI protocols against dissection
2) Assessment of ex vivo tractography algorithms/DWI protocols against dissection
3) Since diffusion and dissection data will be available to the community, other labs will use them for Validation/improvement of emerging tractography algorithms.
4) Distribution of a neuroanatomy-teaching tool.

Indirect related advances
1) Comparison of results from several tractography algorithms.
2) Construction of a probabilistic multimodal anatomical atlas of white matter for the studied population (DWI and dissection data).
3) Study of correlation between neuropsychological data and white matter lesions that may exist in the studied population

Project coordination

Christophe Destrieux ("Imagerie et Cerveau", Inserm et Université François Rabelais de Tours)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Neurospin Neurospin
MCBI Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging,
CHRU Centre Hospitalier Régional de Tours
UMR930 "Imagerie et Cerveau", Inserm et Université François Rabelais de Tours

Help of the ANR 639,289 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2015 - 48 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter