The SACT Template: A Human Brain Diffusion Tensor Template for School-age Children

 Congying Chu1,7 • Haoran Guan1 • Sangma Xie8 • Yanpei Wang1 • Jie Luo1 • Gai Zhao1 • Zhiying Pan1 • Mingming Hu1 • Weiwei Men3,4 • Shuping Tan6 • Jia-Hong Gao3,4,5 • Shaozheng Qin1,2 • Yong He1,2 • Lingzhong Fan9 • Qi Dong1 • Sha Tao1
1 National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China 
2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Brain Imaging and Connectomics, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China 
3 Center for MRI Research, Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China 
4 Beijing City Key Laboratory for Medical Physics and Engineering, Institute of Heavy Ion Physics, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
5 McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China 
6 Psychiatry Research Center, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100096, China 
7 Division of Molecular Neuroimaging, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine-2, Research Center Ju¨lich, 52425 Ju¨lich, Germany 
8 Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Instrumentation, School of Automation, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou 310018, China 
9 Brainnetome Center and National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
School-age children are in a specific development stage corresponding to juvenility, when the white matter of the brain experiences ongoing maturation. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI), especially diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), is extensively used to characterize the maturation by assessing white matter properties in vivo. In the analysis of DWI data, spatial normalization is crucial for conducting inter-subject analyses or linking the individual space with the reference space. Using tensor-based registration with an appropriate diffusion tensor template presents high accuracy regarding spatial normalization. However, there is a lack of a standardized diffusion tensor template dedicated to school-age children with ongoing brain development. Here, we established the school-age children diffusion tensor (SACT) template by optimizing tensor reorientation on high-quality DTI data from a large sample of cognitively normal participants aged 6–12 years. With an age-balanced design, the SACT template represented the entire age range well by showing high similarity to the age-specific templates. Compared with the tensor template of adults, the SACT template revealed significantly higher spatial normalization accuracy and inter-subject coherence upon evaluation of subjects in two different datasets of schoolage children. A practical application regarding the age associations with the normalized DTI-derived data was conducted to further compare the SACT template and the adult template. Although similar spatial patterns were found, the SACT template showed significant effects on the distributions of the statistical results, which may be related to the performance of spatial normalization. Looking forward, the SACT template could contribute to future studies of white matter development in both healthy and clinical populations. The SACT template is publicly available now ( SACT_template/14071283).
School-age children; Diffusion-weighted;MRI; Diffusion tensor template; Spatial normalization