Structural (also known as anatomical) and diffusion MRI provide complimentary anatomical and microstructural characterization of early brain maturation. However, the existing models of the developing brain in time include only either structural or diffusion MRI channels. Furthermore, there is a lack of tools for combined analysis of structural and diffusion MRI in the same reference space.

In this work, we propose a methodology to generate a multi-channel (MC) continuous spatio-temporal parametrized atlas of the brain development that combines multiple MRI parameters during 37 to 44 weeks of postmenstrual age (PMA) in the same anatomical space. We co-align structural and diffusion MRI of 170 normal term subjects from the developing Human Connectomme Project using MC registration driven by both T2-weighted and orientation distribution functions (ODF) channels and fit the Gompertz model to the signals and spatial transformations in time. The resulting atlas consists of fourteen spatio-temporal microstructural indices and two parcellation maps delineating white matter tracts and neonatal transient structures.

In order to demonstrate applicability of the atlas for quantitative region-specific studies, a comparison analysis of 140 term and 40 preterm subjects scanned at the term-equivalent age was performed using different MRI-derived microstructural indices in the atlas reference space for multiple white matter regions, including the transient compartments. The atlas and software will be available after publication of the article.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
VolumeBrain Imaging Methods
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 May 2021


  • Multi-modal MRI
  • neonatal brain
  • spatio-temporal atlas
  • Atlas-based analysis
  • Multi-channel registration
  • White matter maturation
  • white matter parcellation


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