Individualized tractography-based parcellation of the globus pallidus pars interna using 7T MRI in movement disorder patients prior to DBS surgery

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The success of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgeries for the treatment of movement disorders relies on the accurate placement of an electrode within the motor portion of subcortical brain targets. However, the high number of electrodes requiring relocation indicates that today's methods do not ensure sufficient accuracy for all patients. Here, with the goal of aiding DBS targeting, we use 7 Tesla (T) MRI data to identify the functional territories and parcellate the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) into motor, associative and limbic regions in individual subjects.7 T MRI scans were performed in seventeen patients (prior to DBS surgery) and one healthy control. Tractography-based parcellation of each patient's GPi was performed. The cortex was divided into four masks representing motor, limbic, associative and “other” regions. Given that no direct connections between the GPi and the cortex have been shown to exist, the parcellation was carried out in two steps: 1) The thalamus was parcellated based on the cortical targets, 2) The GPi was parcellated using the thalamus parcels derived from step 1. Reproducibility, via repeated scans of a healthy subject, and validity of the findings, using different anatomical pathways for parcellation, were assessed. Lastly, post-operative imaging data was used to validate and determine the clinical relevance of the parcellation.The organization of the functional territories of the GPi observed in our individual patient population agrees with that previously reported in the literature: the motor territory was located posterolaterally, followed anteriorly by the associative region, and further antero-ventrally by the limbic territory. While this organizational pattern was observed across patients, there was considerable variability among patients. The organization of the functional territories of the GPi was remarkably reproducible in intra-subject scans. Furthermore, the organizational pattern was observed consistently by performing the parcellation of the GPi via the thalamus and via a different pathway, going through the striatum. Finally, the active therapeutic contact of the DBS electrode, identified with a combination of post-operative imaging and post-surgery DBS programming, overlapped with the high-probability “motor” region of the GPi as defined by imaging-based methods.The consistency, validity, and clinical relevance of our findings have the potential for improving DBS targeting, by increasing patient-specific knowledge of subregions of the GPi to be targeted or avoided, at the stage of surgical planning, and later, at the stage when stimulation is adjusted.HighlightsPatient-specific parcellation of the GPi using 7 T MRI data is feasible prior to DBS.GPi functional regions followed a Motor, Associative, and Limbic organization (from posterior to anterior).Similar functional organizational patterns were found using two different parcellation methods.The optimal therapeutic contact was located in the motor region.

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