The human cerebral cortex is characterized by a number of features that are not uniformly distributed, such as the presence of multiple cytoarchitectonic elements and of myelinated layers running tangentially to the cortex surface. The presence and absence of these features are the basis of the parcellation of the cerebral cortex in several areas. A number of areas show myelin increases localized within the cortex, e.g., the stria of Gennari located in layer IV of the primary visual cortex. Sub-millimeter MRI can resolve myelin variations across the human cortex and may allow in vivo parcellation of these brain areas. Here, we image within-area myelination. We modified a T1-weighted (T1-w) MPRAGE sequence to enhance myelin visualization within the cortex. First, we acquired images from an ex vivo sample, and compared MRI laminar profiles from calcarine (corresponding to primary visual cortex) and extra-calcarine areas with histology sections from the same locations. Laminar profiles between myelin stained sections and the T1-w images were similar both in calcarine as well as extra-calcarine cortex. In calcarine cortex, the profile reveals the stria of Gennari. In extra-calcarine cortex, a similar profile exists which we suggest corresponds to the lines of Baillarger. Next, we adapted the same sequence to image within-area myelination in vivo. Also in in vivo data, we discriminated similar laminar profiles in calcarine and extra-calcarine cortex, extending into parietal and frontal lobes. We argue that this myelin pattern outside the calcarine cortex represents the lines of Baillarger.
- Journal Article