Probing region-specific microstructure of human cortical areas using high angular and spatial resolution diffusion MRI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Regional heterogeneity in cortical cyto- and myeloarchitecture forms the structural basis of mapping of cortical areas in the human brain. In this study, we investigate the potential of diffusion MRI to probe the microstructure of cortical gray matter and its region-specific heterogeneity across cortical areas in the fixed human brain. High angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) data at an isotropic resolution of 92-μm and 30 diffusion-encoding directions were acquired using a 3D diffusion-weighted gradient-and-spin-echo sequence, from prefrontal (Brodmann area 9), primary motor (area 4), primary somatosensory (area 3b), and primary visual (area 17) cortical specimens (n = 3 each) from three human subjects. Further, the diffusion MR findings in these cortical areas were compared with histological silver impregnation of the same specimens, in order to investigate the underlying architectonic features that constitute the microstructural basis of diffusion-driven contrasts in cortical gray matter. Our data reveal distinct and region-specific diffusion MR contrasts across the studied areas, allowing delineation of intracortical bands of tangential fibers in specific layers-layer I, layer VI, and the inner and outer bands of Baillarger. The findings of this work demonstrate unique sensitivity of diffusion MRI to differentiate region-specific cortical microstructure in the human brain, and will be useful for myeloarchitectonic mapping of cortical areas as well as to achieve an understanding of the basis of diffusion NMR contrasts in cortical gray matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 5 2015


  • Cortical areas
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Gray matter
  • Human
  • Microstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Probing region-specific microstructure of human cortical areas using high angular and spatial resolution diffusion MRI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this