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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Network Neuroscience (2021) 5 (2): 358–372.
Published: 03 May 2021
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AbstractView article PDF
Myelin plays a crucial role in how well information travels between brain regions. Complementing the structural connectome, obtained with diffusion MRI tractography, with a myelin-sensitive measure could result in a more complete model of structural brain connectivity and give better insight into white-matter myeloarchitecture. In this work we weight the connectome by the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1), a measure sensitive to myelin, and then we assess its added value by comparing it with connectomes weighted by the number of streamlines (NOS). Our analysis reveals differences between the two connectomes both in the distribution of their weights and the modular organization. Additionally, the rank-based analysis shows that R1 can be used to separate transmodal regions (responsible for higher-order functions) from unimodal regions (responsible for low-order functions). Overall, the R1-weighted connectome provides a different perspective on structural connectivity taking into account white matter myeloarchitecture. Author Summary In the present work, we show that by using a myelin-sensitive measure we can complement the diffusion MRI-based connectivity and provide a different picture of the brain organization. We show that the R1-weighted average distribution does not follow the same trend as the number of streamlines strength distribution, and the two connectomes exhibit different modular organization. We also show that unimodal cortical regions tend to be connected by more streamlines, but the connections exhibit a lower R1-weighted average, while the transmodal regions have higher R1-weighted average but fewer streamlines. This could imply that the unimodal regions require more connections with lower myelination, whereas the transmodal regions rely on connections with higher myelination.
Includes: Supplementary data