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Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 27;8(1):5229. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23452-w.

Diffusion tensor tractography of the mammillothalamic tract in the human brain using a high spatial resolution DTI technique.

Author information

1
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA. arash.kamali@uth.tmc.edu.
2
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Medical School, Houston, Texas, USA.
3
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.
4
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.
5
Department of Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.

Abstract

The mammillary bodies as part of the hypothalamic nuclei are in the central limbic circuitry of the human brain. The mammillary bodies are shown to be directly or indirectly connected to the amygdala, hippocampus, and thalami as the major gray matter structures of the human limbic system. Although it is not primarily considered as part of the human limbic system, the thalamus is shown to be involved in many limbic functions of the human brain. The major direct connection of the thalami with the hypothalamic nuclei is known to be through the mammillothalamic tract. Given the crucial role of the mammillothalamic tracts in memory functions, diffusion tensor imaging may be helpful in better visualizing the surgical anatomy of this pathway noninvasively. This study aimed to investigate the utility of high spatial resolution diffusion tensor tractography for mapping the trajectory of the mammillothalamic tract in the human brain. Fifteen healthy adults were studied after obtaining written informed consent. We used high spatial resolution diffusion tensor imaging data at 3.0 T. We delineated, for the first time, the detailed trajectory of the mammillothalamic tract of the human brain using deterministic diffusion tensor tractography.

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