Our goal is to develop a novel multi-resolution neuroanatomical atlas of the human brain. In this proposal, we specifically focus on the brainstem (medulla, pons, and midbrain), to create a multi- resolution electronic stereotaxic atlas of the brainstem, and develop several key techniques to establish this atlas. While in vivo three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging can provide visualization of macroscopic brainstem anatomy, it offers relatively limited resolution for anatomic delineation at levels that may be comparable to histological staining techniques. Consequently, there is currently no human brainstem atlas available that provides detailed three-dimensional structural delineation. Previously, stereotaxic atlases of the brainstem have been constructed from stacks of two-dimensional histologically-stained sections. Here, we propose to create a novel brainstem atlas that will provide three-dimensional visualization of brainstem anatomy up to microstructural scales in a consistent stereotaxic coordinate system. Specifically, we propose: 1) To develop a multi-resolution stereotaxic atlas of the brainstem based on diffusion tensor MR microimaging. Tensor data from the postmortem brainstem at successively higher 3D resolutions will be normalized to an in vivo whole brain (ICBM-DTI-81) atlas for mapping to the widely-used MNI coordinate space;and 2) To develop a prototype user interface (based on AtlasView software, www.mristudio.org), that will allow navigation through the brainstem atlas, to visualize images with multiple contrasts and overlay structural segmentations at each resolution level in consistent stereotaxic coordinates. Upon completion, this project will produce the first three-dimensional anatomical atlas of the brainstem for guidance of stereotaxic intervention in the brainstem proper, which will also constitute an important educational and research resource.

Public Health Relevance

We will develop a three-dimensional electronic atlas of the human brainstem in MNI stereotaxic space, which will provide detailed visualization and delineation of brainstem neuroanatomy at multiple resolution levels. The atlas will constitute an important educational and research resource, and establish the first three-dimensional anatomical reference atlas for surgical planning and guidance of stereotaxic brainstem biopsies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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Pai, Vinay Manjunath
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Aggarwal, Manisha; Li, Xu; Gröhn, Olli et al. (2018) Nuclei-specific deposits of iron and calcium in the rat thalamus after status epilepticus revealed with quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). J Magn Reson Imaging 47:554-564
Roebroeck, Alard; Miller, Karla L; Aggarwal, Manisha (2018) Ex vivo diffusion MRI of the human brain: Technical challenges and recent advances. NMR Biomed :e3941
Aggarwal, Manisha; Kageyama, Yusuke; Li, Xu et al. (2016) B0 -orientation dependent magnetic susceptibility-induced white matter contrast in the human brainstem at 11.7T. Magn Reson Med 75:2455-63
Aggarwal, Manisha; Nauen, David W; Troncoso, Juan C et al. (2015) Probing region-specific microstructure of human cortical areas using high angular and spatial resolution diffusion MRI. Neuroimage 105:198-207
Mori, Susumu; Aggarwal, Manisha (2014) In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of the human limbic white matter. Front Aging Neurosci 6:321