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Antonio Meola, Ayhan Comert, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Sananthan Sivakanthan, and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECT

The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) is the major efferent cerebellar pathway arising from the dentate nucleus (DN) and decussating to the contralateral red nucleus (RN) and thalamus. Surprisingly, hemispheric cerebellar output influences bilateral limb movements. In animals, uncrossed projections from the DN to the ipsilateral RN and thalamus may explain this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the dentatorubrothalamic connections in humans.

METHODS

The authors applied advanced deterministic fiber tractography to a template of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (Q1–Q3 release, WU-Minn HCP consortium) and validated the results with microsurgical dissection of cadaveric brains prepared according to Klingler’s method.

RESULTS

The authors identified the “classic” decussating DRTT and a corresponding nondecussating path (the nondecussating DRTT, nd-DRTT). Within each of these 2 tracts some fibers stop at the level of the RN, forming the dentatorubro tract and the nondecussating dentatorubro tract. The left nd-DRTT encompasses 21.7% of the tracts and 24.9% of the volume of the left superior cerebellar peduncle, and the right nd-DRTT encompasses 20.2% of the tracts and 28.4% of the volume of the right superior cerebellar peduncle.

CONCLUSIONS

The connections of the DN with the RN and thalamus are bilateral, not ipsilateral only. This affords a potential anatomical substrate for bilateral limb motor effects originating in a single cerebellar hemisphere under physiological conditions, and for bilateral limb motor impairment in hemispheric cerebellar lesions such as ischemic stroke and hemorrhage, and after resection of hemispheric tumors and arteriovenous malformations. Furthermore, when a lesion is located on the course of the dentatorubrothalamic system, a careful preoperative tractographic analysis of the relationship of the DRTT, nd-DRTT, and the lesion should be performed in order to tailor the surgical approach properly and spare all bundles.

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Francesco Sammartino, Rachel Marsh, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Anders Sondergaard, Barbara Kelly Changizi, and Vibhor Krishna

OBJECTIVE

Globus pallidus (GP) lesioning improves motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and is occasionally associated with nonmotor side effects. Although these variable clinical effects were shown to be site-specific within the GP, the motor and nonmotor subregions have not been distinguished radiologically in patients with PD. The GP was recently found to have a distinct radiological signature on diffusion MRI (dMRI), potentially related to its unique cellular content and organization (or tissue architecture). In this study, the authors hypothesize that the magnitude of water diffusivity, a surrogate for tissue architecture, will radiologically distinguish motor from nonmotor GP subregions in patients with PD. They also hypothesize that the therapeutic focused ultrasound pallidotomy lesions will preferentially overlap the motor subregion.

METHODS

Diffusion MRI from healthy subjects (n = 45, test-retest S1200 cohort) and PD patients (n = 33) was parcellated based on the magnitude of water diffusivity in the GP, as measured orientation distribution function (ODF). A clustering algorithm was used to identify GP parcels with distinct ODF magnitude. The individual parcels were used as seeds for tractography to distinguish motor from nonmotor subregions. The locations of focused ultrasound lesions relative to the GP parcels were also analyzed in 11 patients with PD.

RESULTS

Radiologically, three distinct parcels were identified within the GP in healthy controls and PD patients: posterior, central, and anterior. The posterior and central parcels comprised the motor subregion and the anterior parcel was classified as a nonmotor subregion based on their tractography connections. The focused ultrasound lesions preferentially overlapped with the motor subregion (posterior more than central). The hotspots for motor improvement were localized in the posterior GP parcel.

CONCLUSIONS

Using a data-driven approach of ODF-based parcellation, the authors radiologically distinguished GP motor subregions in patients with PD. This method can aid stereotactic targeting in patients with PD undergoing surgical treatments, especially focused ultrasound ablation.

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Amir H. Faraji, Kumar Abhinav, Kevin Jarbo, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Samuel S. Shin, Sudhir Pathak, Barry E. Hirsch, Walter Schneider, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, and Robert M. Friedlander

OBJECT

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) are challenging due to a higher symptomatic hemorrhage rate and potential morbidity associated with their resection. The authors aimed to preoperatively define the relationship of CMs to the perilesional corticospinal tracts (CSTs) by obtaining qualitative and quantitative data using high-definition fiber tractography. These data were examined postoperatively by using longitudinal scans and in relation to patients’ symptomatology. The extent of involvement of the CST was further evaluated longitudinally using the automated “diffusion connectometry” analysis.

METHODS

Fiber tractography was performed with DSI Studio using a quantitative anisotropy (QA)-based generalized deterministic tracking algorithm. Qualitatively, CST was classified as being “disrupted” and/or “displaced.” Quantitative analysis involved obtaining mean QA values for the CST and its perilesional and nonperilesional segments. The contralateral CST was used for comparison. Diffusion connectometry analysis included comparison of patients’ data with a template from 90 normal subjects.

RESULTS

Three patients (mean age 22 years) with symptomatic pontomesencephalic hemorrhagic CMs and varying degrees of hemiparesis were identified. The mean follow-up period was 37.3 months. Qualitatively, CST was partially disrupted and displaced in all. Direction of the displacement was different in each case and progressively improved corresponding with the patient’s neurological status. No patient experienced neurological decline related to the resection. The perilesional mean QA percentage decreases supported tract disruption and decreased further over the follow-up period (Case 1, 26%–49%; Case 2, 35%–66%; and Case 3, 63%–78%). Diffusion connectometry demonstrated rostrocaudal involvement of the CST consistent with the quantitative data.

CONCLUSIONS

Hemorrhagic brainstem CMs can disrupt and displace perilesional white matter tracts with the latter occurring in unpredictable directions. This requires the use of tractography to accurately define their orientation to optimize surgical entry point, minimize morbidity, and enhance neurological outcomes. Observed anisotropy decreases in the perilesional segments are consistent with neural injury following hemorrhagic insults. A model using these values in different CST segments can be used to longitudinally monitor its craniocaudal integrity. Diffusion connectometry is a complementary approach providing longitudinal information on the rostrocaudal involvement of the CST.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010