Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 216, Issue 3, pp 255–262 | Cite as

Structural properties of the corticospinal tract in the human brain: a magnetic resonance imaging study at 7 Tesla

  • Pierre-Yves Hervé
  • Eleanor F. Cox
  • Ashley K. Lotfipour
  • Olivier E. Mougin
  • Richard W. Bowtell
  • Penny A. Gowland
  • Tomas Paus
Original Article


Several fibre tracts can be accurately located using conventional Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) of the human brain, including the corticospinal tract (CST), which appears as a T 1-weighted hypointense/T 2-weighted hyperintense patch in the posterior part of the posterior-limb of the internal capsule (PLIC). Here we use high-field MRI (7T) to assess the quantitative MRI properties of the CST at the PLIC level in 22 healthy young male participants. We used three different imaging modalities: the T 1 and T 2 relaxation times (T 1 and T 2) and the Magnetization Transfer Ratio (MTR). These measurements obtained in the CST were compared with those in the anterior two-thirds of the PLIC. We observed longer T 1 and T 2 and lower MTR in the CST region compared with the adjacent (control) PLIC region. This effect is consistent with the presence of sparsely distributed, large-diameter fibres described in previous histological studies and, as such, might reflect lower myelin density and/or different morphology of fibres in the CST.


Corticospinal tract Axon caliber High-field MRI Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging Magnetization transfer Relaxometry 



PYH was supported by a grant from the Fondation Recherche Medicale.

Supplementary material

429_2011_306_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1313 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre-Yves Hervé
    • 1
    • 5
  • Eleanor F. Cox
    • 2
  • Ashley K. Lotfipour
    • 2
  • Olivier E. Mougin
    • 2
  • Richard W. Bowtell
    • 2
  • Penny A. Gowland
    • 2
  • Tomas Paus
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Psychology, University of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  3. 3.Rotman Research Institute, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Univ. de Bordeaux, CNRS, CEA, Groupe d’Imagerie NeurofonctionnelleBordeauxFrance

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