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Introducing axonal myelination in connectomics: a preliminary analysis of g-ratio distribution in healthy subjects

Mancini, Matteo, Giulietti, Giovanni, Dowell, Nicholas, Barbara, Spano, Harrison, Neil ORCID:, Bozzali, Marco and Cercignani, Mara ORCID: 2018. Introducing axonal myelination in connectomics: a preliminary analysis of g-ratio distribution in healthy subjects. NeuroImage 182 , 351-.359. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.09.018

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Microstructural imaging and connectomics are two research areas that hold great potential for investigating brain structure and function. Combining these two approaches can lead to a better and more complete characterization of the brain as a network. The aim of this work is characterizing the connectome from a novel perspective using the myelination measure given by the g-ratio. The g-ratio is the ratio of the inner to the outer diameters of a myelinated axon, whose aggregated value can now be estimated in vivo using MRI. In two different datasets of healthy subjects, we reconstructed the structural connectome and then used the g-ratio estimated from diffusion and magnetization transfer data to characterize the network structure. Significant characteristics of g-ratio weighted graphs emerged. First, the g-ratio distribution across the edges of the graph did not show the power-law distribution observed using the number of streamlines as a weight. Second, connections involving regions related to motor and sensory functions were the highest in myelin content. We also observed significant differences in terms of the hub structure and the rich-club organization suggesting that connections involving hub regions present higher myelination than peripheral connections. Taken together, these findings offer a characterization of g-ratio distribution across the connectome in healthy subjects and lay the foundations for further investigating plasticity and pathology using a similar approach.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Date of Acceptance: 8 September 2017
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 14:03

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