- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vivo tractography based on diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) has opened new doors to study structure-function relationships in the human brain. Initially developed to map the trajectory of major white matter tracts, dMRI is used increasingly to infer long-range anatomical connections of the cortex. Because axonal projections originate and terminate in the gray matter but travel mainly through the deep white matter, the success of tractography hinges on the capacity to follow fibers across this transition. Here we demonstrate that the complex arrangement of white matter fibers residing just under the cortical sheet poses severe challenges for long-range tractography over roughly half of the brain. We investigate this issue by comparing dMRI from very-high-resolution ex vivo macaque brain specimens with histological analysis of the same tissue. Using probabilistic tracking from pure gray and white matter seeds, we found that ∼50% of the cortical surface was effectively inaccessible for long-range diffusion tracking because of dense white matter zones just beneath the infragranular layers of the cortex. Analysis of the corresponding myelin-stained sections revealed that these zones colocalized with dense and uniform sheets of axons running mostly parallel to the cortical surface, most often in sulcal regions but also in many gyral crowns. Tracer injection into the sulcal cortex demonstrated that at least some axonal fibers pass directly through these fiber systems. Current and future high-resolution dMRI studies of the human brain will need to develop methods to overcome the challenges posed by superficial white matter systems to determine long-range anatomical connections accurately.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the weeks following unilateral peripheral nerve injury, the deprived primary somatosensory cortex (SI) responds to stimulation of the ipsilateral intact limb as demonstrated by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses. The neuronal basis of these responses was studied by using high-resolution fMRI, in vivo electrophysiological recordings, and juxtacellular neuronal labeling in rats that underwent an excision of the forepaw radial, median, and ulnar nerves. These nerves were exposed but not severed in control rats. Significant bilateral increases of fMRI responses in SI were observed in denervated rats. In the healthy SI of the denervated rats, increases in fMRI responses were concordant with increases in local field potential (LFP) amplitude and an increased incidence of single units responding compared with control rats. In contrast, in the deprived SI, increases in fMRI responses were associated with a minimal change in LFP amplitude but with increased incidence of single units responding. Based on action potential duration, juxtacellular labeling, and immunostaining results, neurons responding to intact forepaw stimulation in the deprived cortex were identified as interneurons. These results suggest that the increases in fMRI responses in the deprived cortex reflect increased interneuron activity.