The potential of myelin-sensitive imaging:Redefining spatiotemporal patterns of myeloarchitecture

Casey Paquola, Seok-Jun Hong, The potential of myelin-sensitive imaging: Redefining spatiotemporal patterns of myeloarchitecture, Biological Psychiatry, 2022

ABSTRACT. Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pave the way for approximation of myelin content in-vivo. In this review, our main goal was to determine how to best capitalise on myelin-sensitive imaging. First, we briefly overview the theoretical and empirical basis for the myelin sensitivity of different MRI markers, and in doing so highlight how multi-modal imaging approaches are important for enhancing specificity to myelin. Then, we discuss recent studies that probe the non-uniform distribution of myelin across cortical layers and along white matter tracts. These approaches, collectively known as “myelin profiling”, have provided detailed depictions of myeloarchitecture in both the post-mortem and living human brain. Notably, MRI-based profiling studies have recently focused on investigating whether it can capture inter-individual variability in myelin characteristics as well as trajectories across the lifespan. Finally, another line of recent evidence emphasises the contribution of region-specific myelination to large-scale organisation, demonstrating the impact of myelination on global brain networks. In conclusion, we suggest that combining well-validated MRI markers with profiling techniques holds strong potential to elucidate individual differences in myeloarchitecture, which has important implications for understanding brain function and disease.

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