OBJECTIVES: To compare five different seeding methods to delineate hand, foot, and lip components of the corticospinal tract (CST) using single tensor tractography.
METHODS: We studied five healthy subjects and 10 brain tumor patients. For each subject, we used five different seeding methods, from (1) cerebral peduncle (CP), (2) posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC), (3) white matter subjacent to functional MRI activations (fMRI), (4) whole brain and then selecting the fibers that pass through both fMRI and CP (WBF-CP), and (5) whole brain and then selecting the fibers that pass through both fMRI and PLIC (WBF-PLIC). Two blinded neuroradiologists rated delineations as anatomically successful or unsuccessful tractography. The proportions of successful trials from different methods were compared by Fisher's exact test.
RESULTS: To delineate hand motor tract, seeding through fMRI activation areas was more effective than through CP (p<0.01), but not significantly different from PLIC (p>0.1). WBF-CP delineated hand motor tracts in a larger proportion of trials than CP alone (p<0.05). Similarly, WBF-PLIC depicted hand motor tracts in a larger proportion of trials than PLIC alone (p<0.01). Foot motor tracts were delineated in all trials by either PLIC or whole brain seeding (WBF-CP and WBF-PLIC). Seeding from CP or fMRI activation resulted in foot motor tract visualization in 87% of the trials (95% confidence interval: 60-98%). The lip motor tracts were delineated only by WBF-PLIC and in 36% of trials (95% confidence interval: 11-69%).
CONCLUSIONS: Whole brain seeding and then selecting the tracts that pass through two anatomically relevant ROIs can delineate more plausible hand and lip motor tracts than seeding from a single ROI. Foot motor tracts can be successfully delineated regardless of the seeding method used.