The claustrum is a thin sheet of neurons enclosed by white matter and situated between the insula and the putamen. It is highly interconnected with sensory, frontal, and subcortical regions. The deep location of the claustrum, with its fine structure, have limited the degree to which it could be studied in vivo. Particularly in humans, identifying the claustrum using MRI is extremely challenging, even manually. Therefore, automatic segmentation of the claustrum is an invaluable step toward enabling extensive and reproducible research of the anatomy and function of the human claustrum.
In this study we developed an automatic algorithm for segmenting the human dorsal claustrum in vivo using high-resolution MRI. Using this algorithm, we segmented the dorsal claustrum bilaterally in 1068 subjects of the Human Connectome Project (HCP) Young Adult dataset, a publicly available high-resolution MRI dataset. We found good agreement between the automatic and manual segmentations performed by two observers in 10 subjects. We demonstrate the use of the segmentation in analyzing the covariation of the dorsal claustrum with other brain regions, in terms of macro- and microstructure. We identified several covariance networks associated with the dorsal claustrum.
We provide an online repository of 1068 bilateral dorsal claustrum segmentations.