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For two decades diffusion fiber tractography has been used to probe both the spatial extent of white matter pathways and the region to region connectivity of the brain. In both cases, anatomical accuracy of tractography is critical for sound scientific conclusions. Here we assess and validate the algorithms and tractography implementations that have been most widely used - often because of ease of use, algorithm simplicity, or availability offered in open source software. Comparing forty tractography results to a ground truth defined by histological tracers in the primary motor cortex on the same squirrel monkey brains, we assess tract fidelity on the scale of voxels as well as over larger spatial domains or regional connectivity. No algorithms are successful in all metrics, and, in fact, some implementations fail to reconstruct large portions of pathways or identify major points of connectivity. The accuracy is most dependent on reconstruction method and tracking algorithm, as well as the seed region and how this region is utilized. We also note a tremendous variability in the results, even though the same MR images act as inputs to all algorithms. In addition, anatomical accuracy is significantly decreased at increased distances from the seed. An analysis of the spatial errors in tractography reveals that many techniques have trouble properly leaving the gray matter, and many only reveal connectivity to adjacent regions of interest. These results show that the most commonly implemented algorithms have several shortcomings and limitations, and choices in implementations lead to very different results. This study should provide guidance for algorithm choices based on study requirements for sensitivity, specificity, or the need to identify particular connections, and should serve as a heuristic for future developments in tractography.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is effective for ameliorating the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) including bradykinesia. The STN receives its main excitatory input from cortex; however, the contribution of cortico-subthalamic projection neurons to the effects of DBS remains unclear. To isolate the consequences of stimulating layer 5 primary motor cortex (M1) projections to the STN, we used a dual virus transfection technique to selectively express opsins in these neurons in mice made parkinsonian by unilateral nigrostriatal 6-OHDA lesioning. AAVs containing WGA-Cre constructs were injected in the STN to retrogradely place Cre in STN afferents, while AAVs containing Cre-dependent ultrafast hChR2(E123T/T159C)-EYFP opsin constructs were injected in M1 layer 5, producing specific opsin expression in M1-STN projections. Under unstimulated conditions, lesioned mice showed bradykinesia and hypokinesia (decreased movement), along with electrophysiological changes similar to those observed in PD patients. Specifically, low frequency power (theta, alpha, low beta) was increased and gamma power was decreased, while M1/STN coherence and STN phase-amplitude-coupling (PAC) were increased. Optogenetic stimulation (100-130Hz) of STN afferents in these mice ameliorated bradykinesia and hypokinesia and brought the neural dynamics closer to the non-parkinsonian state by reducing theta and alpha and increasing gamma power in M1, decreasing STN PAC, and reducing theta band coherence. Histological examination of the EYFP expression revealed that, in addition to orthodromic and antidromic effects, stimulation of cortico-subthalamic neurons may cause wide-spread increased glutamatergic activity due to collaterals that project to areas of the thalamus and other brain regions.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Rett syndrome (RS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that shares many symptomatic and pathological commonalities with idiopathic autism. Alterations in protein synthesis-dependent synaptic plasticity (PSDSP) are a hallmark of a number of syndromic forms of autism; in the present work, we explore the consequences of disruption and rescue of PSDSP in a mouse model of RS. We report that expression of a key regulator of synaptic protein synthesis, the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu) protein, is significantly reduced in both the brains of RS model mice and in the motor cortex of human RS autopsy samples. Furthermore, we demonstrate that reduced mGlu expression correlates with attenuated DHPG-induced long-term depression in the hippocampus of RS model mice, and that administration of a novel mGlu positive allosteric modulator (PAM), termed VU0462807, can rescue synaptic plasticity defects. Additionally, treatment of Mecp2-deficient mice with VU0462807 improves motor performance (open-field behavior and gait dynamics), corrects repetitive clasping behavior, as well as normalizes cued fear-conditioning defects. Importantly, due to the rationale drug discovery approach used in its development, our novel mGlu PAM improves RS phenotypes and synaptic plasticity defects without evoking the overt adverse effects commonly associated with potentiation of mGlu signaling (i.e. seizures), or affecting cardiorespiratory defects in RS model mice. These findings provide strong support for the continued development of mGlu PAMs as potential therapeutic agents for use in RS, and, more broadly, for utility in idiopathic autism.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
BACKGROUND - There is considerable evidence that the thalamus is abnormal in psychotic disorders. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging has revealed an intriguing pattern of thalamic dysconnectivity in psychosis characterized by reduced prefrontal cortex (PFC) connectivity and increased somatomotor-thalamic connectivity. However, critical knowledge gaps remain with respect to the onset, anatomical specificity, and clinical correlates of thalamic dysconnectivity in psychosis.
METHODS - Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was collected on 105 healthy subjects and 148 individuals with psychosis, including 53 early-stage psychosis patients. Using all 253 subjects, the thalamus was parceled into functional regions of interest (ROIs) on the basis of connectivity with six a priori defined cortical ROIs covering most of the cortical mantle. Functional connectivity between each cortical ROI and its corresponding thalamic ROI was quantified and compared across groups. Significant differences in the ROI-to-ROI analysis were followed up with voxelwise seed-based analyses to further localize thalamic dysconnectivity.
RESULTS - ROI analysis revealed reduced PFC-thalamic connectivity and increased somatomotor-thalamic connectivity in both chronic and early-stage psychosis patients. PFC hypoconnectivity and motor cortex hyperconnectivity correlated in patients, suggesting that they result from a common pathophysiological mechanism. Seed-based analyses revealed thalamic hypoconnectivity in psychosis localized to dorsolateral PFC, medial PFC, and cerebellar areas of the well-described executive control network. Across all subjects, thalamic connectivity with areas of the fronto-parietal network correlated with cognitive functioning, including verbal learning and memory.
CONCLUSIONS - Thalamocortical dysconnectivity is present in both chronic and early stages of psychosis, includes reduced thalamic connectivity with the executive control network, and is related to cognitive impairment.
Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography provides noninvasive measures of structural cortico-cortical connectivity of the brain. However, the agreement between DTI-tractography-based measures and histological 'ground truth' has not been quantified. In this study, we reconstructed the 3D density distribution maps (DDM) of fibers labeled with an anatomical tracer, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA), as well as DTI tractography-derived streamlines connecting the primary motor (M1) cortex to other cortical regions in the squirrel monkey brain. We evaluated the agreement in M1-cortical connectivity between the fibers labeled in the brain tissue and DTI streamlines on a regional and voxel-by-voxel basis. We found that DTI tractography is capable of providing inter-regional connectivity comparable to the neuroanatomical connectivity, but is less reliable measuring voxel-to-voxel variations within regions.
A network of brain regions involving the ventral inferior frontal gyrus/anterior insula (vIFG/AI), presupplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and basal ganglia has been implicated in stopping impulsive, unwanted responses. However, whether this network plays an equal role in response inhibition under different sensorimotor contexts has not been tested systematically. Here, we conducted an fMRI experiment using the stop signal task, a sensorimotor task requiring occasional withholding of the planned response upon the presentation of a stop signal. We manipulated both the sensory modality of the stop signal (visual versus auditory) and the motor response modality (hand versus eye). Results showed that the vIFG/AI and the preSMA along with the right middle frontal gyrus were commonly activated in response inhibition across the various sensorimotor conditions. Our findings provide direct evidence for a common role of these frontal areas, but not striatal areas in response inhibition independent of the sensorimotor contexts. Nevertheless, these three frontal regions exhibited different activation patterns during successful and unsuccessful stopping. Together with the existing evidence, we suggest that the vIFG/AI is involved in the early stages of stopping such as triggering the stop process while the preSMA may play a role in regulating other cortical and subcortical regions involved in stopping.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Obesity affects over 500 million people worldwide, and has far reaching negative health effects. Given that high body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance are associated with alterations in many regions of brain and that physical activity can decrease obesity, we hypothesized that in Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) fed a high fat diet and who subsequently received reduced calories BMI would be associated with a unique gene expression signature in motor regions of the brain implicated in neurodegenerative disorders. In the motor cortex with increased BMI we saw the upregulation of genes involved in apoptosis, altered gene expression in metabolic pathways, and the downregulation of pERK1/2 (MAPK1), a protein involved in cellular survival. In the caudate nucleus with increased BMI we saw the upregulation of known obesity related genes (the insulin receptor (INSR) and the glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor (GLP2R)), apoptosis related genes, and altered expression of genes involved in various metabolic processes. These studies suggest that the effects of high BMI on the brain transcriptome persist regardless of two months of calorie restriction. We hypothesize that active lifestyles with low BMIs together create a brain homeostasis more conducive to brain resiliency and neuronal survival.
Copyright Â© 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It has been established that weight gain and weight loss are heavily influenced by activity level. In this study, we hypothesized that the motor cortex exhibits a distinct physical activity-associated gene expression profile, which may underlie changes in weight associated with movement. Using DNA microarrays we profiled gene expression in the motor cortex of a group of 14 female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) with a wide range of stable physical activity levels. We found that neuronal growth factor signaling and nutrient sensing transcripts in the brain were highly correlated with physical activity. A follow-up of AKT3 expression changes (a gene at the apex of neuronal survival and nutrient sensing) revealed increased protein levels of total AKT, phosphorylated AKT, and forkhead box O3 (FOXO3), one of AKT's main downstream effectors. In addition, we successfully validated three other genes via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) (cereblon (CRBN), origin recognition complex subunit 4-like, and pyruvate dehydrogenase 4 (PDK4)). We conclude that these genes are important in the physical activity-associated pathway in the motor cortex, and may be critical for physical activity-associated changes in body weight and neuroprotection.
In our monkey model, cortical ARC and BDNF expressions were strongly correlated with spontaneous physical activity. The expressions of ARC and BDNF were inversely correlated with serum CRP levels, suggesting that CRP could be a putative peripheral marker of brain resiliency.
BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE - Spinal cord compression may induce cortical reorganization. This study follows a patient with cervical spondylotic myelopathy to investigate changes in cortical activation before and after decompressive surgery. The relationship with functional recovery is also described.
CLINICAL PRESENTATION - A 37-year-old right-hand-dominant man presented a 1-month history of rapidly worsening right-hand clumsiness, right-sided hemiparesis, and gait difficulties. Physical examination confirmed severe right-sided weakness, impaired dexterity, hyperreflexia, and wide-based gait. The patient underwent blood oxygenation level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging at 4 T. Images were obtained before and 6 months after an anterior cervical discectomy with insertion of an artificial disk. Blood oxygenation level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to detect changes in cortical activation over time during a finger-tapping (motor) paradigm. Improvement in clinical function was recorded with validated clinical tools, including the Japanese Orthopedic Association scale for cervical spondylotic myelopathy, the Nurick neurological function score, and the Neck Disability Index, along with clinical examination.
CONCLUSION - After decompressive cervical spine surgery in a patient with cervical spondylotic myelopathy, functional magnetic resonance imaging detected increased cortical activation in the primary motor cortex during finger tapping. These changes occurred concomitantly with improvement in motor function. Upper- and lower-extremity motor subscores of the Japanese Orthopedic Association scale demonstrated 40% and 43% improvement, respectively. These observations suggest that cortical reorganization or recruitment may accompany the recovery of function after spinal cord injury.