Multimodal principal component analysis to identify major features of white matter structure and links to reading

Bryce L. Geeraert, Maxime Chamberland, R. Marc Lebel, Catherine Lebel, Pew-Thian Yap
2020 PLoS ONE  
The role of white matter in reading has been established by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), but DTI cannot identify specific microstructural features driving these relationships. Neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI), inhomogeneous magnetization transfer (ihMT) and multicomponent driven equilibrium single-pulse observation of T1/T2 (mcDESPOT) can be used to link more specific aspects of white matter microstructure and reading due to their sensitivity to axonal packing and
more » ... ber coherence (NODDI) and myelin (ihMT and mcDESPOT). We applied principal component analysis (PCA) to combine DTI, NODDI, ihMT and mcDESPOT measures (10 in total), identify major features of white matter structure, and link these features to both reading and age. Analysis was performed for nine reading-related tracts in 46 neurotypical 6-16 year olds. We identified three principal components (PCs) which explained 79.5% of variance in our dataset. PC1 probed tissue complexity, PC2 described myelin and axonal packing, while PC3 was related to axonal diameter. Mixed effects regression models did not identify any significant relationships between principal components and reading skill. Bayes factor analysis revealed that the absence of relationships was not due to low power. Increasing PC1 in the left arcuate fasciculus with age suggest increases in tissue complexity, while increases of PC2 in the bilateral arcuate, inferior longitudinal, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi, and splenium suggest increases in myelin and axonal packing with age. Multimodal white matter imaging and PCA provide microstructurally informative, powerful principal components which can be used by future studies of development and cognition. Our findings suggest major features of white matter undergo development during childhood and adolescence, but changes are not linked to reading during this period in our typically-developing sample.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233244 pmid:32797080 fatcat:se226545lvfghme2i7smkbxvvm