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High resolution quantitative and functional MRI indicate lower myelination of thin and thick stripes in human secondary visual cortex

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Haenelt,  Daniel       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity;

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Trampel,  Robert       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Pine,  Kerrin       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Edwards,  Luke       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Helbling,  Saskia       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Poeppel Lab, Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society;

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Weiskopf,  Nikolaus       
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Felix Bloch Institute for Solid State Physics, Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences, Leipzig University;

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Citation

Haenelt, D., Trampel, R., Nasr, S., Polimeni, J., Tootell, R., Sereno, M., et al. (2022). High resolution quantitative and functional MRI indicate lower myelination of thin and thick stripes in human secondary visual cortex. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2022.04.28.489865.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-408F-C
Abstract
The characterization of cortical myelination is essential for the study of structure-function relationships in the human brain. However, knowledge about cortical myelination is largely based on post mortem histology, which generally renders direct comparison to function impossible. The repeating pattern of pale-thin-pale-thick stripes of cytochrome oxidase (CO) activity in the primate secondary visual cortex (V2) is a prominent columnar system which is known to be differentiable by myelin content as well. However, depending on the applied histological method, higher myelination in both thin/thick and pale stripes were found, respectively. We used quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at ultra-high field strength (7T) to localize and study myelination of stripes in several humans at sub-millimeter resolution in vivo. Thin and thick stripes were functionally localized by exploiting their sensitivity to color and binocular disparity, respectively. Resulting functional activation maps showed robust stripe patterns in V2 which enabled further comparison of quantitative relaxation parameters between stripe types. Thereby, we found lower longitudinal relaxation rates (R1) of thin and thick stripes compared to surrounding gray matter in the order of 1-2%, indicating higher myelination of pale stripes. No differences for effective transverse relaxation rates (R2*) were found. The study demonstrates the feasibility to investigate structure-function relationships in living humans within one cortical area at the level of columnar systems using qMRI.