Microstructure of Human Corpus Callosum across the Lifespan: Regional Variations in Axon Caliber, Density, and Myelin Content

Published on Jan 5, 2021in Cerebral Cortex5.043
· DOI :10.1093/CERCOR/BHAA272
Jonathan D. Lynn2
Estimated H-index: 2
(WSU: Wayne State University),
Chaitali Anand4
Estimated H-index: 4
(WSU: Wayne State University)
+ 5 AuthorsJeffrey A. Stanley35
Estimated H-index: 35
(WSU: Wayne State University)
Sources
Abstract
The myeloarchitecture of the corpus callosum (CC) is characterized as a mosaic of distinct differences in fiber density of small- and large-diameter axons along the anterior-posterior axis; however, regional and age differences across the lifespan are not fully understood. Using multiecho T2 magnetic resonance imaging combined with multi-T2 fitting, the myelin water fraction (MWF) and geometric-mean of the intra-/extracellular water T2 (geomT2IEW) in 395 individuals (7-85 years; 41% males) were examined. The approach was validated where regional patterns along the CC closely resembled the histology; MWF matched mean axon diameter and geomT2IEW mirrored the density of large-caliber axons. Across the lifespan, MWF exhibited a quadratic association with age in all 10 CC regions with evidence of a positive linear MWF-age relationship among younger participants and minimal age differences in the remainder of the lifespan. Regarding geomT2IEW, a significant linear age × region interaction reflected positive linear age dependence mostly prominent in the regions with the highest density of small-caliber fibers-genu and splenium. In all, these two indicators characterize distinct attributes that are consistent with histology, which is a first. In addition, these results conform to rapid developmental progression of CC myelination leveling in middle age as well as age-related degradation of axon sheaths in older adults.
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