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Journal Article

Direct diffusion-based parcellation of the human thalamus

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Kumar, V., Mang, S., & Grodd, W. (2015). Direct diffusion-based parcellation of the human thalamus. Brain Structure & Function, 220(3), 1619-1635. doi:10.1007/s00429-014-0748-2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-4663-D
To assess stable anatomical features of the human thalamus, an unbiased diffusion tensor parcellation approach was used to segment thalamic substructures with similar spatial orientation. We determined localization, size and individual variations of 21 thalamic clusters in a group of 63 healthy human subjects (32 males/31 females). The laterality differences accounted for ±6 and gender differences for ±4 of the thalamic volume. Consecutively, five stable clusters in the anterior, medial, lateral and posterior thalamus were selected, which were common to 90 of all subjects and contained at least 10 voxels. These clusters could be assigned to the anteroventral nucleus (AN) group, the mediodorsal (MD) nucleus, the medial pulvinar (PuM), and the lateral nuclei group. The subcortical and cortical connectivity of these clusters revealed that: (1) the oblique cranio-caudal-oriented fibers of the AN cluster mainly connect to limbic structures, (2) the numerous dorso-frontal-oriented fibers of MD mainly project to the prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal lobe, (3) the fibers of the PuM running in parallel with the x-axis project to medio-occipital and medio-temporal areas and connect visual areas with the hippocampus and amygdala and via intrathalamic pathways with medio-frontal areas, and (4) the oblique caudo-cranial fibers of the two lateral clusters located anteriorly in the motor and posteriorly in the sensory thalamus are routing sensory–motor information from the brain stem via the internal capsule to pre- and peri-central regions of the cortex.