The vertical occipital fasciculus (VOF) is a white-matter tract that connects the ventral and dorsal visual streams. The precise borders of the VOF have been a matter of dispute since its discovery in the 19th century. The presence of an adjacent vertical pathway, the posterior arcuate fasciculus, makes it especially hard to determine the anterior extent of the VOF. By integrating diffusion MRI tractography with quantitative T1 mapping we found that the vertical streamlines originating in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex show a pattern of lower T1 in more posterior streamlines. We used this pattern to develop an automatic procedure for VOF identification based on a sharp increase in the streamline T1 signature along the posterior-anterior axis. We studied the cortical endpoints of the VOF and their relation to known cytoarchitectonic and functional divisions of the cortex. These results show that multi-modal MRI information, which characterizes local tissue microstructure such as myelination, can be used to delineate white-matter tracts in vivo.
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