Rationale and Objectives: Conventional tractography based on the "streamline" method only partially visualizes the pyramidal tract because of fiber crossing with other white matter tracts. Recently a new tractography method based on directional diffusion function (DDF) has been proposed. This method was reported to visualize the pyramidal tract to a larger extent than conventional techniques do. To validate the DDF-based tractography method, we studied the somatotopic organization of the pyramidal tract in the posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC). Materials and Methods: Pyramidal tracts in the intact hemispheres of 14 brain tumor patients were drawn using the directional diffusion function-based tractography method. Each pyramidal tract was divided into four fiber bundles according to the cephalocaudal positions of their termination in the precentral gyrus. The cephalocaudal positions in the precentral gyrus of the four fiber bundles were correlated with their positional relationships in the PLIC along the mediolateral and anteroposterior axes. Results: Fiber bundles terminating more caudally in the precentral gyrus were located significantly more anteriorly in the PLIC (r = 0.59, Spearman's correlation coefficient, P < .0001). On the other hand, no significant correlation was shown between the cephalocaudal positions in the precentral gyrus of the four fiber bundles and their relative positions in the PLIC along the mediolateral axis. Conclusions: Estimated organization of the fiber bundles of the pyramidal tract in the PLIC was consistent with anatomically known somatotopic organization, which supported the validity of the DDF-based tractography method.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging