On the construction of an inter-subject diffusion tensor magnetic resonance atlas of the healthy human brain

Van Hecke, Wim, Sijbers, Jan, D'Agostino, Emiliano, Maes, Frederik, De Backer, Steve, Vandervliet, Evert, Parizel, Paul M., Leemans, Alexander


NeuroImage 43 (1), p. 69-80


Voxel based morphometry (VBM) has been increasingly applied to detect diffusion tensor (DT) image abnormalities in patients for different pathologies. An important requisite for a robust VBM analysis is the availability of a high-dimensional non-rigid coregistration technique that is able to align both the spatial and the orientational DT information. Consequently, there is a need for an inter-subject DTI atlas as a group specific reference frame that also contains this orientational DT information. In this work, a population based DTI atlas has been developed that incorporates such orientational DT information with high accuracy and precision. The proposed methodology for constructing such an atlas is compared with a subject based DTI atlas, in which a single subject is selected as the reference image. Our results demonstrate that the population based atlas framework is more accurate with respect to the underlying diffusion information.