Along-tract analysis of the arcuate fasciculus using the Laplacian operator to evaluate different tractography methods

Lia Talozzi, Claudia Testa, Stefania Evangelisti, Lorenzo Cirignotta, Claudio Bianchini, Stefano Ratti, Paola Fantazzini, Caterina Tonon, David Neil Manners, Raffaele Lodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We propose a new along-tract algorithm to compare different tractography algorithms in tract curvature mapping and along-tract analysis of the arcuate fasciculus (AF). In particular, we quantified along-tract diffusion parameters and AF spatial distribution evaluating hemispheric asymmetries in a group of healthy subjects. Methods: The AF was bilaterally reconstructed in a group of 29 healthy subjects using the probabilistic ball-and-sticks model, and both deterministic and probabilistic constrained spherical deconvolution. We chose cortical ROIs as tractography targets and the developed along-tract algorithm used the Laplacian operator to parameterize the volume of the tract, allowing along-tract analysis and tract curvature mapping independent of the tractography algorithm used. Results: The Laplacian parameterization successfully described the tract geometry underlying hemispheric asymmetries in the AF curvature. Using the probabilistic tractography methods, we found more tracts branching towards cortical terminations in the left hemisphere. This influenced the left AF curvature and its diffusion parameters, which were significantly different with respect to the right. In particular, we detected projections towards the middle temporal and inferior frontal gyri bilaterally, and towards the superior temporal and precentral gyri in the left hemisphere, with a significantly increased volume and connectivity. Conclusions: The approach we propose is useful to evaluate brain asymmetries, assessing the volume, the diffusion properties and the quantitative spatial localization of the AF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Arcuate fasciculus
  • Ball-and-sticks model
  • Constrained spherical deconvolution
  • Hemispheric asymmetries
  • Laplacian
  • Tract curvature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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