Kyousuke Kamada, Tomoki Todo, Yoshitaka Masutani, Shigeki Aoki, Kenji Ino, R.T., Akio Morita and Nobuhito Saito
There is continuous interest in the monitoring of language function during tumor resection around the fron-totemporal regions of the dominant hemisphere. The aim of this study was to visualize language-related subcortical connections, such as the arcuate fasciculus (AF) by diffusion tensor (DT) imaging–based tractography.
Twenty-two patients with brain lesions adjacent to the AF in the frontotemporal regions of the dominant hemisphere were studied. The AF tractography was accomplished by placing initiation and termination sites (seed and target points) in the frontal and temporal regions, which were functionally identified by using functional magnetic resonance (fMR) imaging in conjunction with a verb generation task and magnetoencephalography (MEG) in conjunction with a reading task. The combination of fMR imaging and MEG data clearly demonstrated the hemispheric dominance of language functions, which was confirmed by an intracranial amobarbital test (Wada procedure). In all 22 patients, the authors were able to consistently visualize the AF by DT imaging–based tractography, using the functionally identified seed and target points and a fractional anisotropy value of 0.16. In two of 22 cases investigated, the functional information, including the results of AF tractography, fMR imaging, and MEG, was imported to a neuronavigation system and was validated by bipolar electric stimulation of the cortical and subcortical areas during awake surgery. The cortical stimulation to the gyrus that included the area of activation identified in fMR imaging with the language task evoked speech arrest, while the subcortical stimulation close to the AF reproducibly caused paranomia without speech arrest. Postoperative AF tractography showed that the distances between the stimulus points and the AF were within 6 mm.
The combination of these techniques facilitated accurate identification of the location of the AF and verification of the language fibers.
Kyousuke Kamada, Tomoki Todo, Takahiro Ota, Kenji Ino, Yoshitaka Masutani, Shigeki Aoki, Fumiya Takeuchi, Kensuke Kawai and Nobuhito Saito
To validate the corticospinal tract (CST) illustrated by diffusion tensor imaging, the authors used tractography-integrated neuronavigation and direct fiber stimulation with monopolar electric currents.
Forty patients with brain lesions adjacent to the CST were studied. During the operation, the motor responses (motor evoked potential [MEP]) elicited at the hand by the cortical stimulation to the hand motor area were continuously monitored, maintaining the consistent stimulus intensity (mean 15.1 ± 2.21 mA). During lesion resection, direct fiber stimulation was applied to elicit MEP (referred to as fiber MEP) to identify the CST functionally. The threshold intensity for the fiber MEP was determined by searching for the best stimulus point and changing the stimulus intensity. The minimum distance between the resection border and illustrated CST was measured on postoperative isotropic images.
Direct fiber stimulation demonstrated that tractography accurately reflected anatomical CST functioning. There were strong correlations between stimulus intensity for the fiber MEP and the distance between the CST and the stimulus points. The results indicate that the minimum stimulus intensity of 20, 15, 10, and 5 mA had stimulus points ~ 16, 13.2, 9.6, and 4.8 mm from the CST, respectively. The convergent calculation formulated 1.8 mA as the electrical threshold of the CST for the fiber MEP, which was much smaller than that of the hand motor area.
The investigators found that diffusion tensor imaging–based tractography is a reliable way to map the white matter connections in the entire brain in clinical and basic neuroscience applications. By combining these techniques, investigating the cortical-subcortical connections in the human CNS could contribute to elucidating the neural networks of the human brain and shed light on higher brain functions.