An image registration protocol to integrate electrophysiology, MRI and neuropathology data in epileptic patients explored with intracerebral electrodes

Ileana Zucca, Gloria Milesi, Francesco Padelli, Laura Rossini, Francesca Gozzo, Matteo Figini, Andrea Barbaglia, Francesco Cardinale, Laura Tassi, Maria Grazia Bruzzone, Roberto Spreafico, Rita Garbelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Several attempts have been made to coregister in vivo MRI with the histopathology of surgical samples, aiming to validate new MRI biomarkers and improve the detection of epileptogenic lesions. As a further implementation, we propose a method to reconstruct the anatomical localization of the intracerebral electrodes on the histological sections, developing a coregistration protocol to match the in vivo MRI onto the ex vivo MRI obtained from the surgical specimen. New method: Since the ex vivo MRI is natively in geometrical correspondence with histology slices, the goal of the coregistration process is to compute the transform function mapping the clinical MRI space to the ex vivo MRI. Electrodes and leads, identified in CT-MRI, can then be segmented and translated onto the histological slices. Results: Step-by-step, qualitative visual inspection showed an improved matching of the anatomical structures or boundaries and electrodes positions between the two modalities. The quantitative evaluation of the coregistration protocol reported a mean error ranging between 0.82 and 1.27 mm when a sufficient number of landmarks, particularly in the core of the specimen, were clearly identified. Comparison with existing methods: Because histology was performed according to ex vivo MRI geometry we chose to transform the in vivo onto the ex vivo MRI, differently from other methods. Conclusions: Interesting applications of the method will include correlating the locally-generated pathological electrical activity with the subtle morphological alterations of the tissue, and histologically validating the origin of signal alterations or quantitative parameter variations in MRI studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018



  • Coregistration
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • MRI
  • Neuropathology
  • Stereo-EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this