October 24, 2020

The R1-weighted connectome: complementing brain networks with a myelin-sensitive measure

Myelin plays a crucial role in how well information travels between brain regions. Many neurological diseases affect the myelin in the white matter, making myelin-sensitive metrics derived from quantitative MRI of potential interest for early detection and prognosis of those conditions. Complementing the structural connectome, obtained with diffusion MRI tractography, with a myelin sensitive measure could result in a more complete model of structural brain connectivity and give better insight into how the myeloarchitecture relates to brain function. In this work we weight the connectome by the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1) as a measure sensitive to myelin, and then we assess its added value by comparing it with connectomes weighted by the number of streamlines (NOS). Our analysis reveals differences between the two connectomes both in the distribution of their weights and the modular organization. Additionally, the rank-based analysis shows that R1 is able to separate different classes (unimodal and transmodal), following a functional gradient. Overall, the R1-weighted connectome provides a different perspective on structural connectivity taking into account white matter myeloarchitecture.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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