Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 224, Issue 2, pp 599–612 | Cite as

A population-based atlas of the human pyramidal tract in 410 healthy participants

  • Quentin Chenot
  • Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer
  • François Rheault
  • Maxime Descoteaux
  • Fabrice Crivello
  • Laure Zago
  • Emmanuel Mellet
  • Gaël Jobard
  • Marc Joliot
  • Bernard Mazoyer
  • Laurent PetitEmail author
Original Article


With the advances in diffusion MRI and tractography, numerous atlases of the human pyramidal tract (PyT) have been proposed, but the inherent limitation of tractography to resolve crossing bundles within the centrum semiovale has so far prevented the complete description of the most lateral PyT projections. Here, we combined a precise manual positioning of individual subcortical regions of interest along the descending pathway of the PyT with a new bundle-specific tractography algorithm. This later is based on anatomical priors to improve streamlines tracking in crossing areas. We then extracted both left and right PyT in a large cohort of 410 healthy participants and built a population-based atlas of the whole-fanning PyT with a complete description of its most corticolateral projections. Clinical applications are envisaged, the whole-fanning PyT atlas being likely a better marker of corticospinal integrity metrics than those currently used within the frame of prediction of poststroke motor recovery. The present population-based PyT, freely available, provides an interesting tool for clinical applications to locate specific PyT damage and its impact to the short- and long-term motor recovery after stroke.


White-matter anatomy Pyramidal tract Corticospinal tract Corticobulbar tract Healthy human Diffusion imaging Tractography 



We are grateful to Dr. Thomas Tourdias for the helpful comments and discussion.


No specific funding to mention.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the local ethics committee (CCPRB Basse-Normandie).

Informed consent

All participants gave written consent prior to participation in the study.

Research involving human participants

The current research involved human participants.

Supplementary material

429_2018_1798_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 4308 KB)
429_2018_1798_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (15.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 15659 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quentin Chenot
    • 1
  • Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer
    • 1
  • François Rheault
    • 2
  • Maxime Descoteaux
    • 2
  • Fabrice Crivello
    • 1
  • Laure Zago
    • 1
  • Emmanuel Mellet
    • 1
  • Gaël Jobard
    • 1
  • Marc Joliot
    • 1
  • Bernard Mazoyer
    • 1
  • Laurent Petit
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Groupe d’Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle, Institut des Maladies NeurodégénérativesUMR 5293, CNRS, CEA University of Bordeaux, Case 28, Centre Broca Nouvelle-AquitaineBordeaux CedexFrance
  2. 2.Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging LabUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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