Reassessing associations between white matter and behaviour with multimodal microstructural imaging

Lazari, A. et al. (2021) Reassessing associations between white matter and behaviour with multimodal microstructural imaging. Cortex, 145, pp. 187-200. (doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.08.017) (PMID:34742100)

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Several studies have established specific relationships between White Matter (WM) and behaviour. However, these studies have typically focussed on fractional anisotropy (FA), a neuroimaging metric that is sensitive to multiple tissue properties, making it difficult to identify what biological aspects of WM may drive such relationships. Here, we carry out a pre-registered assessment of WM-behaviour relationships in 50 healthy individuals across multiple behavioural and anatomical domains, and complementing FA with myelin-sensitive quantitative MR modalities (MT, R1, R2∗). Surprisingly, we only find support for predicted relationships between FA and behaviour in one of three pre-registered tests. For one behavioural domain, where we failed to detect an FA-behaviour correlation, we instead find evidence for a correlation between behaviour and R1. This hints that multimodal approaches are able to identify a wider range of WM-behaviour relationships than focusing on FA alone. To test whether a common biological substrate such as myelin underlies WM-behaviour relationships, we then ran joint multimodal analyses, combining across all MRI parameters considered. No significant multimodal signatures were found and power analyses suggested that sample sizes of 40–200 may be required to detect such joint multimodal effects, depending on the task being considered. These results demonstrate that FA-behaviour relationships from the literature can be replicated, but may not be easily generalisable across domains. Instead, multimodal microstructural imaging may be best placed to detect a wider range of WM-behaviour relationships, as different MRI modalities provide distinct biological sensitivities. Our findings highlight a broad heterogeneity in WM's relationship with behaviour, suggesting that variable biological effects may be shaping their interaction.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by a PhD Studentship awarded to AL from the Wellcome Trust (109062/Z/15/Z) and by a Principal Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to HJB (110027/Z/15/Z). CJS holds a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (102584/Z/13/Z). OJW was funded by the Erasmus+ Programme by the European Commission. NE is a Wellcome Trust Doctoral student in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford [203730/Z/16/Z]. AJ was funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust (RPGF1810/93). The project was supported by the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging are supported by core funding from the Wellcome Trust [203147/Z/16/Z and 203139/Z/16/Z].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sampaio Baptista, Dr Cassandra
Authors: Lazari, A., Salvan, P., Cottaar, M., Papp, D., Jens van der Werf, O., Johnstone, A., Sanders, Z.-B., Sampaio-Baptista, C., Eichert, N., Miyamoto, K., Winkler, A., Callaghan, M. F., Nichols, T. E., Stagg, C. J., Rushworth, M. F.S., Verhagen, L., and Johansen-Berg, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Cortex
ISSN (Online):1973-8102
Published Online:08 October 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cortex 145: 187-200
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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