System-specific patterns of thalamocortical connectivity in early brain development as revealed by structural and functional MRI

Silvina L. Ferradal, Borjan Gagoski, Camilo Jaimes, Francesca Yi, Clarisa Carruthers, Catherine Vu, Jonathan S. Litt, Ryan Larsen, Brad Sutton, P. Ellen Grant, Lilla Zöllei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The normal development of thalamocortical connections plays a critical role in shaping brain connectivity in the prenatal and postnatal periods. Recent studies using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques in neonates and infants have shown that abnormal thalamocortical connectivity is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, all these studies have focused on a single neuroimaging modality, overlooking the dynamic relationship between structure and function at this early stage. Here, we study the relationship between structural and functional thalamocortical connectivity patterns derived from healthy full-term infants scanned with diffusion-weighted MRI and resting-state functional MRI within the first weeks of life (mean gestational age = 39.3 ± 1.2 weeks; age at scan = 24.2 ± 7.9 days). Our results show that while there is, in general, good spatial agreement between both MRI modalities, there are regional variations that are system-specific: regions involving primary-sensory cortices exhibit greater structural/functional overlap, whereas higher-order association areas such as temporal and posterior parietal cortices show divergence in spatial patterns of each modality. This variability illustrates the complementarity of both modalities and highlights the importance of multimodal approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1229
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • early development
  • functional connectivity
  • neonates
  • probabilistic tractography
  • thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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    Ferradal, S. L., Gagoski, B., Jaimes, C., Yi, F., Carruthers, C., Vu, C., Litt, J. S., Larsen, R., Sutton, B., Grant, P. E., & Zöllei, L. (2019). System-specific patterns of thalamocortical connectivity in early brain development as revealed by structural and functional MRI. Cerebral Cortex, 29(3), 1218-1229. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy028