Cortico-subthalamic white matter tract strength predicts interindividual efficacy in stopping a motor response

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Abstract

The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a small but vitally important structure in the basal ganglia. Because of its small volume, and its localization in the basal ganglia, the STN can best be visualized using ultra-high resolution 7 Tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the present study, first we individually segmented 7T MRI STN masks to generate atlas probability maps. Secondly, the individually segmented STN masks and the probability maps were used to derive cortico-subthalamic white matter tract strength. Tract strength measures were then taken to test two functional STN hypotheses which account for the efficiency in stopping a motor response: the right inferior fronto-subthalamic (rIFC-STN) hypothesis and the posterior medial frontal cortex-subthalamic (pMFC-STN) hypothesis. Results of two independent experiments show that increased white matter tract strength between the pMFC and STN results in better stopping behaviour.

Highlights

□ Created STN atlas probability maps based on ultra-high resolution 7T MRI images. □ Individually segmented STN masks and probability maps were used to test cortico-subthalamic white matter strength. □ Tract strength measures were taken to investigate the efficacy to withhold a motor response. □ Results show increased white matter tract strength between the pFMC and STN to account for better stopping behaviour.

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