A Diffeomorphic Vector Field Approach to Analyze the Thickness of the Hippocampus from 7 T MRI

Alexis Guyot, Ana B.Graciano Fouquier, Emilie Gerardin, Marie Chupin, Joan A. Glaunes, Linda Marrakchi-Kacem, Johanne Germain, Claire Boutet, Claire Cury, Lucie Hertz-Pannier, Alexandre Vignaud, Stanley Durrleman, Thomas R. Henry, Pierre Francois Van De Moortele, Alain Trouve, Olivier Colliot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: 7-Tesla MRI of the hippocampus enhances the visualization of its internal substructures. Among these substructures, the cornu Ammonis and subiculum form a contiguous folded ribbon of gray matter. Here, we propose a method to analyze local thickness measurements of this ribbon. Methods: We introduce an original approach based upon the estimation of a diffeomorphic vector field that traverses the ribbon. The method is designed to handle specificities of the hippocampus and corresponding 7-Tesla acquisitions: highly convoluted surface, non-closed ribbon, incompletely defined inner/outer boundaries, anisotropic acquisitions. We furthermore propose to conduct group comparisons using a population template built from the central surfaces of individual subjects. Results: We first assessed the robustness of our approach to anisotropy, as well as to inter-rater variability, on a post-mortem scan and on in vivo acquisitions respectively. We then conducted a group study on a dataset of in vivo MRI from temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients and healthy controls. The method detected local thinning patterns in patients, predominantly ipsilaterally to the seizure focus, which is consistent with medical knowledge. Conclusion: This new technique allows measuring the thickness of the hippocampus from 7-Tesla MRI. It shows good robustness with respect to anisotropy and inter-rater variability and has the potential to detect local atrophy in patients. Significance: As 7-Tesla MRI is increasingly available, this new method may become a useful tool to study local alterations of the hippocampus in brain disorders. It is made freely available to the community (code: https://github.com/aramis-lab/hiplay7-thickness, postmortem segmentation: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3533264).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9108539
Pages (from-to)393-403
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1964-2012 IEEE.


  • 7-Tesla
  • Diffeomorphism
  • Hippocampus
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Morphometry
  • Thickness
  • Ultra-high-field


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