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A framework based on sulcal constraints to align preterm, infant and adult human brain images acquired in vivo and post mortem


Robust spatial alignment of post mortem data and in vivo MRI acquisitions from different ages, especially from the early developmental stages, into standard spaces is still a bottleneck hampering easy comparison with the mainstream neuroimaging results. In this paper, we test a landmark-based spatial normalization strategy as a framework for the seamless integration of any macroscopic dataset in the context of the Human Brain Project (HBP). This strategy stems from an approach called DISCO embedding sulcal constraints in a registration framework used to initialize DARTEL, the widely used spatial normalization approach proposed in the SPM software. We show that this strategy is efficient with a heterogeneous dataset including challenging data as preterm newborns, infants, post mortem histological data and a synthetic atlas computed from averaging the ICBM database, as well as more commonly studied data acquired in vivo in adults. We then describe some perspectives for a research program aiming at improving folding pattern matching for atlas inference in the context of the future HBP’s portal.

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The authors thank Yann Le Prince for his involvement in the project in improving the regularization of the registration algorithms.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 785907 (HBP SGA2), No. 720270 (HBP SGA1) and No. 604102 (HBP’s ramp-up phase). Infant MRI acquisitions were financed thanks to a grant from the Fondation de France and Fyssen Foundation. Preterm MRI acquisitions were performed in the context of grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Leenards Foundation and the European consortium NEOBRAIN. The authors thank the UNIACT clinical team from NeuroSpin for precious help in scanning and segmenting infants’ images.

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Correspondence to J. Lebenberg.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Lebenberg, J., Labit, M., Auzias, G. et al. A framework based on sulcal constraints to align preterm, infant and adult human brain images acquired in vivo and post mortem. Brain Struct Funct 223, 4153–4168 (2018).

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  • MRI
  • Folding pattern
  • Diffeomorphism
  • Spatial normalization
  • Cytoarchitecture
  • HBP